Building a Career in the UK: A Complete Guide for Expats

The allure of working in the United Kingdom as an expat makes perfect sense. It is a cosmopolitan country with one of the strongest economies around the globe. The UK attracts passionate and hardworking minds that are ambitious to enter the UK workforce.  However, they must be organized, because relocating to a different side of the world is no easy feat.

As an expat, it is important to have an understanding of the current UK job market before searching for new employment. Equip yourself with all the essential information and requirements needed to find a job in the UK.  Research on the basic paperwork, the average salary, working days, visa requirements, and permits, to work in the country legally.

To help we have provided a guide to assist you in building a career in the UK.

Establish the visa requirements

Depending on your country of origin, visit the UK government website to find out the list of countries that are required to apply for a permit to work in the UK. Job hunters within the European Union and Switzerland are exempt, but it is best to stay up to date with the visa tiers, insurance fees, current laws, and restrictions. Before you apply for a work visa, it is crucial to have received a confirmed offer of employment from an accredited UK employer who will act as your sponsor.

Citizens who live in countries that are recognized as a Commonwealth Nation, or can prove British ancestry have an easier chance of living and working in the UK.

Get your legal documents translated

If English is not your first language it is wise to acquire high-quality birth certificate translation services that offer other legal document translations as well. You will most probably end up using them more than once throughout the job application process. 

Every effort should be made to reproduce the form from your home country to an identical format to the original document. The translation of legal documents and birth certificates should be well-worded, free from errors, and interpreted by a professional translation service that is recognized by UK government offices and private businesses.

Expat salaries
If your dream is to live and work in London, expect a higher cost of living. It is one of the most expensive cities in the world. Be upfront with your company and inquire how much they are willing to cover for your move and if they will assist you in the work permit process. Do not go ahead with the career change if your base salary does not cover the housing costs, daily expenses, insurance, transport costs, and education of your children.

It’s all about the CV

Once you have spotted a job that you are interested in, you will be required to write a cover letter and fill out an application form or send a CV that follows the UK-style resumes. Keep it to the point, clear and neat. Discuss how you are right for the job and why they should hire you. There are available templates online that show the proper CV format. Be honest with your employment history, past education, and skills.

At the end of your CV always include a list of referrals that can vouch for your character, working relationships, and skills.  Provide their contact details so your future employer can get in touch with them should they inquire about your character.

Be confident with the interview

If your potential company is impressed with your CV and cover letter, the second phase of the job recruitment process is the interview. Preparation is the key to a successful interview. Research everything you can about your future employer, the UK culture and be up to date with the current issues of the business sector you are applying for. Ask meaningful questions and think well before you answer.

Know your CV by heart so you will be able to answer any questions related to your work experience. Whether it is a virtual or actual interview, put thought into your appearance and clothes. Be on time to make a great first impression.

Learn about the culture and worker rights

The UK has a multicultural workforce. UK laws protect against discrimination so expats transition easily. Most companies have a dedicated human resources department that can assist anyone who has experienced issues against exploitation, race, disability, religion, and sexual orientation while at work. Gender equality is high, and women are expected to be treated equally to their male peers.

Brush up on UK history and current events. It’s best to be aware and respectful of the local culture and traditions. 

Working hours and holidays

48 hours in a week is the maximum amount of work hours allowed in the UK. Certain offices can require extra hours, only with the written consent from their General Manager. The majority of office jobs in the UK will accumulate these hours between Monday and Friday.

Public holidays are referred to as bank holidays, meaning that banks are closed. There are between 8 to 10 holidays per year, two holidays over Christmas (December 25 and 26) and a day over New Years’ Eve.  Expats should coordinate with their employers about their contract to find out which days they are allowed off. An increase in pay should be offered should you be asked to work on a bank holiday.

In Closing

The UK has one of the largest economies in the world and offers attractive positions in the workforce for expats looking for a career change. Once you meet the necessary requirements and land the job you’ve always dreamed of, expect to be rewarded with fair wages, a diverse workforce, and protected rights.

Improve your career path so you may be able to provide for your loved ones and lead a comfortable and happy life. 

Author: Editorial Team

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