Moving to the UK: A Life-Solvers Guide

Updated: Mar 12

Preparing to start a new career in the UK can be daunting to say the least, but

nevertheless an exciting opportunity. Whether you are considering the UK as a location for

work, or have already been accepted in a flashy new role, here are some pros and cons to

help you prepare.


HEALTHCARE

PRO: Access to the NHS & (mostly) Free Healthcare

The UK is world-renowned for its National Health Service (NHS), which gives UK residents

and citizens access to medical care at little to no cost. So say goodbye to pricey insurance

packages and rest easy knowing that calling an ambulance isn’t going to cost you a penny.

Keep in mind that although healthcare is generally free, you may be exposed to a relatively

small fee depending on the extent of your needs. Also, if you’re applying for a Visa to live

in the UK you will be subject to an NHS surcharge, which can reach as high as £2,000

(approx. HKD$20,000).


CON: Long NHS Waiting Times

The caveat to living in a country with a state-funded healthcare system is that, you

guessed it, everyone can use the service. This exposes hospitals and medical centres in

the UK to longer-than-usual wait times for prospective patients. In fact, according to

government statistics the number of people waiting for surgery through the NHS is

currently at its highest level since 2008. Whilst the UK government puts a large emphasis

on trying to trim down waiting times, this may be important to consider if you suffer from

chronic conditions.


EDUCATION

PRO: Access to Free Education

Residents in the UK are legally entitled to send their children to a public school free-of-

charge. Whilst the education standards vary considerably, in general, your children will be

exposed to adequate schooling without any financial strain.


CON: Expensive Private Education

Private schools in the UK are considered to be some of the best in world, but if you are in

a position to consider private schooling for your children, do not expect to be able to do so

on the cheap. On average, a private education will cost around £14,000 annually, with

more reputable schools costing over double that amount.


WORK-LIFE BALANCE

PRO: Excellent Employee Benefits

Full-time employees in the UK are entitled to a generous 28 days paid vacation per year. If

you combine that with the eight annual public holidays, you’ll find you will have lots of time

to explore the beautiful British countryside or even take a convenient trip to European

cities like Paris or Amsterdam via the EuroStar train.


CON: Unpleasant Weather & Harsh Winters

Although you will have lots of time off from work to relax, don not expect to be doing much

sunbathing. The UK is derided for its cold, dark and rainy climate, particularly during

winter. This may be especially important to you if you are starting a new office job that

requires you to work long hours. If you find yourself getting to work at 8am and leaving the

office at 5pm without ever seeing the sun between November and January, do not be

surprised.

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