United Kingdom

Relocating your employees to the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom has been a popular place for jobs for years. It has a healthy economy and excels in different sectors such as IT, engineering, finance, healthcare, energy, oil and construction. London, specifically, has been one of the best cities for (international) business and big employers. Expats have found their way to the United Kingdom many years ago and keep on coming. Brexit has changed that slightly since immigration rules have become more complicated. However, The United Kingdom is still one of the larger economies in Western Europe and therefore offers much relocation options. In this article, we give you the most important information to get started.

Immigration requirements

For years, the liberal immigration policies and European agreements made it easy for expats to move to the UK. However, Brexit has had big implications for both UK and EU nationals and free movement between regions. Now, only expats with specialist skills that are in demand are approved to work in the United Kingdom. An exemption is made for Irish citizens, they are in most cases allowed to visit and work in the United Kingdom without complex visa applications.

As of April 11, 2022, the United Kingdom has changed its rules and regulations for immigration visas. Foreign people that want to work in the United Kingdom, can now apply via the ‘Global Business Mobility’ program. This also counts for business with subsidiaries or branches in the United Kingdom that want to send their employees to the UK location. The different types of visas under the Global Business Mobility program are:

  1. The senior or specialist worker route (replaces the former Intra company working visa)

For senior or specialist employees being assigned to a UK business that is linked to their employer overseas for a temporary assignment.

  1. The Graduate Trainee route

For overseas workers on a graduate training course that leads to a senior or specialist position.

  1. UK Expansion Worker route

For overseas workers looking to undertake temporary assistance in the UK with the expansion of the business within this region.

  1. Service Supplier route

For contractual service suppliers looking to undertake temporary assignments in the UK to provide services covered by a UK international trade agreement.

  1. Secondment Worker route

For overseas workers that are being seconded to the UK as part of a high value contract or investment.

The first program (senior and specialist worker route) is the most common and is suitable for companies with locations in the United Kingdom that want to relocate their own employees. There are some rules to this route to be eligble:

  • The employee must work for the company outside the UK for at least 12 months, or must earn more than £73,900
  • The applicant must have been issued a valid Certicate of Sponsorship, issued by an employer that is authorized by the UK Home Office
  • The employee must have an appropriate minimum skill level, with an annual salary of at least £42,400

If approved, the work visa is valid for 5 years after the start date of the job. However, dependent of the importance of the job and earnings of the employee, this can be extended to a 10-year period.

What about the employee’s spouse and children?

The visa holder can bring his or her spouse, partner or children. However, they will need to satisfy various requirements, such as a relationship and financial requirement.

Relocation management

Housing and schooling

Finding a house can be challenging, especially in London since this city has some of the highest rental prices in the world. Rent prices are very expensive and the options are limited. Also, having a valid visa for your employee is not only a necessity for permanent work, but also to rent in the UK. Therefore, all immigration processes must be approved before an employee can start house searching and sign a rental contract. Smaller cities and towns are far more reasonable in pricing and options.

Children of the employee can go to state schools for free (parents only have to pay for uniforms and school trips) or to private schools (sometimes known as public schools) or international schools. The latter two and other childcare options are very pricy in the United Kingdom. Therefore, thinking about compensation for this to your employee should be a priority when relocating them.

Relocating employees to the UK

Costs of relocating employees to the UK

Visa costs

The costs of the visa depend on the type of visa that is required and on whether the company is a large sponsor or a small/charitable sponsor. Due to the complexness of the immigration policies, you may need a lawyer or expert to assist you. This will drive up the price.

Shipment costs

The costs of the move itself are dependent of many factors. Including the country of origin, the amount of goods and whether additional services (such as packing or insurance) are desired. Since the United Kingdom is an island, movements by ship are common.

Flight tickets

Flight tickets to and from the United Kingdom to Europe can be very cheap. Also, flight tickets to the United States are not that expensive. Flight tickets to other parts of the world, including Australia and Asia are more expensive. If you can find good prices from your current location, it is recommended to give your employee the option to go visit the United Kingdom with their families prior to the move. They can start exploring their new neighborhood already or show their children where they are going to live. This will increase their satisfaction.

Costs of living in the UK

Overall, the United Kingdom is one of the most expensive countries in the world if it comes to daily life. Especially housing and transportation is pricy. In contrast, healthcare in the United Kingdom is free and of high quality. However, in some cases, you still must pay for certain inpatient treatments or dental work.

Relocation management for your company

A good start is half the work. Find yourself a professional relocation and international moving company to help you with everything related to the relocation. At Voerman International, we are happy to assist you with our move management and relocation management services.

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