With this in mind, expat healthcare insurance experts, Cigna Global have picked out five areas for Australians to focus on for a hassle-free relocation…
You can register on the electoral roll
As Commonwealth citizens resident in the UK, Australians can register to vote in local and national UK elections. Politics might not exactly be top of your list of priorities right now, but there’s a very good practical reason for getting registered to vote; namely, helping to build up a UK credit rating and proof of address.
In all sorts of areas, from opening a bank account through to applying for a phone contract, it’s common for credit agencies and various other organisations to use the electoral roll for identity verification purposes and to combat fraud. Electoral roll registration is quick and easy; so it’s certainly worth doing to help reduce delay and admin in all sorts of areas.
You can work while you study
For Australians coming to the UK on a student visa, it’s possible to work in most types of jobs for up to 20 hours a week during term – and full time during the holidays.
Just make sure you check that the establishment you intend to study at is listed on the directory of recognised bodies with degree-awarding authority and on the list of institutions authorised to support migrant students; the college must be on both lists for you to be able to work.
It’s generally an expat-friendly property market
To secure funding for any property purchase, you will of course need to meet the lending criteria of your UK mortgage provider. But for the time being, at least, there isn’t a UK-equivalent of Australia’s Foreign Investment Review Board. This means that if you are considering buying a property in the UK – even on a short-term visa, there’s no formal government approval process to go through.
So depending on your circumstances, UK home ownership (as opposed to renting) could be a viable option.
Australians are now liable for the Immigration Health Surcharge
As from 6 April 2016, the Immigration Health Surcharge now applies to Australians and New Zealanders.
Bear in mind that it covers visa extensions too, so if you are already resident in the UK and are due to apply to extend your stay, you will be required to pay a £200 per annum surcharge as part of your application.
IPMI can make accessing healthcare a much smoother process
The reasoning behind the Health Surcharge is to generate a greater contribution from temporary residents towards the cost of the UK’s much-vaunted National Health Service.
So does the right to use the NHS mean that “everything’s covered” health-wise for you and your family? No healthcare system is perfect, and it’s fair to say that some of the negative aspects of British public healthcare – especially when it comes to waiting times for routine treatment – can take many Australians by surprise.
International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) can help to make the whole process of accessing treatment for you and your family a lot smoother. The best policies are both flexible and portable; ideal for filling in gaps in existing private cover, and well-suited if you are living and working across national borders.
For a quote and to find out more about how UK-based Australians can benefit from IPMI, visit www.cignaglobal.com.