It is probably so we can spend one last Christmas with the family before leaving them and our common sense behind, or it could just be naivety at how cold it can be in England when the sun sets at 4pm.
Whatever the reason, we all remember that it takes time to settle in – to start calling the pound ‘quid’, to figure out which stations have big walks between connecting tube lines, to get a bloody NI Number sorted out. So to help the new kids we have prepared this guide as a ‘Welcome to London’.
Good luck, and have a great time! You might not know it yet, but whether you have a two year Working Holiday Visa or a British passport, you will not want to leave.
020 7379 4334, www.australia.org.uk
SET UP A BANK ACCOUNT:
You will need to prove your address, which is usually done by putting your name on a bill or lease. Letters from an employer/ recruitment agency or your home bank are also useful. Take as much ID as possible.
– Barclays: 0870 154 0154, www.barclays.co.uk
– HSBC: 020 7991 8888, www.hsbc.co.uk
– Natwest: 0800 200 400, www.natwest.co.uk
– Lloyds: 0845 3000 0000, www.lloydstsb.com
Alternatively, a company like 1st Contact can help you with this painstaking process (0800 082 0468, www.1stcontact.co.uk).
SET UP A LIMITED COMPANY:
This can be tricky, but can also mean extra money for workers in certain fields and on certain rates of pay so it is worth looking into. There are essentially two different types of company which are classified as limited companies: a trading company and a personal service company.
The tax rate for small companies is at 19% with the PAYE and the NI payable on the company director’s salary. Once the director’s dividends exceed £34,500pa they are taxed at 25% and will be taxable in your country of origin if you are still a tax resident there.
It is advisable to seek professional advice when setting up a company in the UK, but at least look at www.hmrc.gov.uk. Specialist companies include:
– 1st Contact: 0800 082 0451, www.1stcontact.co.uk
– Safe Solutions: www.safesolutions.co.uk
– GRQ Ltd: 0870 050 7248
NATIONAL INSURANCE NUMBER:
You will need a proof of address, especially your postcode, and work address before you can make an appointment with your local office. Contact 0845 377 0001, www.hmrc.gov.uk or email [email protected].
Once you have an appointment do not miss it or forget any information as this process can drive you to insanity. You will need your passport, letter proving your employment or registration with a recruitment agency, and three other forms of ID.
– Breytenbachs: 020 7499 3111, www.breytenbach.com
– Smith Stone Walters: 020 8461 6660, www.smithstonewalters.com
– Post Office: www.postoffice.co.uk
– Dial Smile: 0870 870 2500, www.dialsmile.com
– WorldSaver: www.worldsaveruk.com
– Planet Talk Instant: www.planettalkinstant.co.uk
SENDING LUGGAGE HOME:
– Seven Seas: 0800 216 698, www.sevenseasworldwide.com
– Tri Nations Baggage: 0800 731 6642, www.trinationsbaggage.com
– White & Company: 0800 592 262, www.whiteandcompany.co.uk
SENDING MONEY HOME:
Banks charge at least £10, so it can be easier and cheaper to use specialists such as:
– 1st Contact: 0800 082 0481, www.1stcontact.co.uk
– Moneygram: 0800 8971 8971, www.moneygram.com
– Transzfers: www.tranzfers.com
– Oz Pay: www.oz-pay.com
– OzForex: www.ozforex.com
NHS (0845 4647 or visit www.nhs.uk for a list of GPs and dentists). 24-hour emergency dental care is available on 020 8677 8383.
GETTING AROUND LONDON:
– Daily Travelcard: zones 1-2 (£6.20 peak,
£4.90 off-peak), 1-4 (£8.40, £5.40), 1-6 (£12.40, £6.30).
– Weekly Travelcard: zones 1-2 (£22.20), 1-4 (£31.60), 1-6 (£41).
GETTING AROUND THE UK:
– National Express: 0870 580 8080, www.nationalexpress.com
– Megabus: 0901 331 0031, www.megabus.com
– National Rail: 0845 748 4950, www.nationalrail.co.uk
– Virgin: 0870 789 1234, www.virgintrains.co.uk