Category Archives: Living in the UK

Opportunities for Ireland Post G8

The G8 Summit held on the shores of Lough Erne in Northern Ireland, just a few miles from Enniskillen, is expected to give a boost to the economy on both sides of the border. This summit was hosted by David Cameron representing the UK and attended by the heads of Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Japan, Russia and United States. Enda Kenny, Ireland’s Taoiseach (PM), attended in his capacity as President of the EU.

Enda Kenny was most likely pleased to have the opportunity to be at the summit but with the crafting of the “Lough Erne Declaration” on taxes there may have been some uncomfortable moments for him as well as long term implications for his country. Politicians both sides of the border will have been delighted to have the opportunity to promote tourism in Ireland. The pictures of these world leaders in such a beautiful setting sans umbrellas was a gift.

Northern Ireland is a prime European location for software development and IT support services. According to the FT, specialisation in IT security and financial services technology has attracted investment from places such as the New York Stock Exchange and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange. Universities are expanding IT courses to keep pace with demand and there is a plan to increase the number of IT employees in the province from 28,000 to 50,000 by 2018.

Across the border things are looking up on the IT front with companies in Dublin such as Google, Facebook, Linkedin and Microsoft based there. A lot of the jobs will not be in IT development but in sales, marketing, customer support, management and administration. The arrival of Facebook will also have resulted in an influx of multi-lingual people to support their operations in places like Spain, Italy and the Nordic Countries. Microsoft will have more IT development work taking place at their Dublin campus as will the IBM Smarter Cities Technology Centre.

Do you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering, Actuary or Finance?

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!
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Got non-EEA Dependents? Money & Not Love Will Conquer All

On 11 June 2012 the Government announced changes to the Immigration Rules for non-European Economic Area (non-EEA) nationals applying to enter or remain in the UK on the family migration route. The changes came into effect for new applicants from the 9th July 2012 and were a response to the pressure on the government to reduce the number of immigrants. The expectation of the Home Office was that the changes would significantly reduce the number of family visas. The full details of the changes are available on UKBA’s website.

An All-Party Parliamentary Group (APPG) Family Migration enquiry was launched on 20 November 2012 to explore the impact of the new rules and their report was released yesterday. The main focus of the enquiry was on the following point:

The new minimum income requirement of £18,600 for British nationals and permanent residents (‘UK sponsors’) seeking to sponsor a non-EEA spouse or partner, rising to £22,400 to sponsor a child in addition and a further £2,400 for each further child included in the application; and the new rules on sponsorship of non-EEA adult dependents applying to come to the UK.

Over 280 submissions were received by the inquiry committee, including over 175 submissions from families who had been adversly affected by the rules. Charities, lawyers, local authorities, businesses and MPs submitted written evidence.
The key official findings are:

  1. Some British citizens and permanent residents in the UK, including people in full-time employment, have been separated from a non-EEA partner and in some cases their children as a result of the income requirement.
  2. Some British citizens and permanent residents have been prevented from returning to
    the UK with their non-EEA partner and any children as a result of the income requirement.
  3. Some children, including British children, have been indefinitely separated from a non-EEA parent as a result of the income requirement.
  4. The current permitted sources in order to meet the income requirement may not fully
    reflect the resources available to some families.
  5. The adult dependent relative visa category appears in effect to have been closed.

In general it is the rigid enforcement of the rules that is the problem. The proposed migrant’s salary cannot be taken into account when calculating the £18,600 even if they have a high salary. In practical terms it means that people with a right to live here cannot bring their high earning partner to live with them if they themselves are not working. They may be looking after their children and have no plans to work or to become a drain on the public purse. If their children were born in a non-EEA country and require a visa the bar to entry is set even higher. The UK misses out on the skills of the ‘dependent’ migrant and the income tax revenue from their high salary. Some people have had to claim benefits when that was never their plan and their children are then growing up in a low income one parent family. In parts of the UK average income levels are well below £18,600 and so that level of income is then not achievable.

The APPG Migration Group had this to say

We urge Government to consider the emerging evidence about what must be the unintended consequences of these rules, and hope they will agree the need fully to review whether, one year on from their introduction, these rules have struck the right balance between different interests.

Increasingly young people are working abroad as part of their career development and when starting a personal relationship are probably not thinking about the complexities of immigrations systems. It would be odd if they were. In the first flush of romance they are more likely to believe that love conquers all.

Do you need a visa to work in IT, Engineering or Finance?

To find out more about our solutions call now on 0800 294 4388 or Send us some details now and we will get right back to you!
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Wealthy Global Investors Favour Silicon Roundabout

According to a report in the FT entrepreneurs from around the world are attracted to the UK’s fastest growing business sectors including the rapidly expanding IT start-up sector centered around the Silicon Roundabout.

Where is it?

Old Street roundabout in London is referred to as Silicon Roundabout owing to the number of web start-up companies in the area. It sits on the northern fringe of the centuries-old financial hub, the City of London. In September 2011 Google acquired a  building  in the area which has since been transformed into a Google Campus comprised of  seven floors of co-working space, a café and events space for start-up companies and entrepreneurs.

According to  International Law Firm Pinsent Masons the number of wealthy foreign investors issued with specialist ‘investor visas’ allowing these people to stay in the UK has rocketed in the past year. The figure has risen to 462 at the end of a 12 month period ending in June 2012 compared with 199 in the same period a year earlier.

Simon Horsfield, the head of Pinsent Masons’ business immigration team says: “The UK, and London in particular, remains hugely attractive to wealthy individuals from around the globe. Foreign nationals still see London as an expat friendly gateway to Europe. London offers both political stability and a very transparent legal system. Investors see prime property in the capital as a very attractive and liquid asset. Prime property prices in London have remained stable or even increased despite the global downturn, which is a real lure for High Net Worths.”

These start-ups will also need talented engineers and other creative people. David Cameron on his visit to India last week announced that there is no cap on foreign students allowed in Britain provided they have basic English and an offer to study at a UK university. It is not just from India that we need them. These entrepreneurs and students will boost our economy through their expertise, innovative ideas and job creation. Making them welcome is the way forward for us.

If you are an expat studying for a PhD or an MBA, we, and our partners can help you

* Obtain a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa.

or

* Find an employer able to employ you on a Tier 2 (general) work visa.

To find out more call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your details now and we will get right back to you. Please be prepared to send a copy of a recent CV so that we can pass to interested partners.

If you are a Tier 1 Entrepreneur we await your call.

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The National Health Service

If you travel to the UK to take employment while on a temporary work visa (e.g. Tier 2 General, Tier 1 General, Tier 5 Youth Mobility) you are entitled to free medical treatment on the National Health Service.

However, entitlement to free NHS treatment is not free for everyone as it depends upon the length and purpose of your residence in the United Kingdom, not your nationality.

Are you planning to come to the UK to work as a professional Contractor? Would like to find out about maximising your contract income or working towards a future visa extension? If so Commonwealth Contractors can help!

To discuss your situation with an experienced advisor call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

Treatment which is always free to all

Some hospital treatment is free to all regardless of residence. Free treatment includes:

  • Treatment for Accidents and Emergencies
  • Compulsory Psychiatric Treatment
  • Treatment for communicable diseases including Tuberculosis, Cholera, Food Poisoning, Malaria, Meningitis, HIV etc
  • Family Planning Service

Foreign Individuals eligible for free NHS Treatment

Certain foreign nationals (and their dependents) can receive NHS hospital treatment free of charge, including:

Those that have been living in the UK for at least 12 months
Those that have come to the UK to take up permanent residence or have been granted leave to enter or remain as a spouse
Those that have come to the UK to work. This does not include short business trips
Students who are following a course of study which lasts at least six months

Registering with a General Practitioner (GP)

If you are eligible to register with a GP you should do so (at your local practice) as soon as possible.

You should visit the GP’s surgery to register and make them aware that you wish to register as a NHS patient and that you are a foreign national. Be sure to take as much documentary evidence as possible to prove you eligibility for free NHS treatment e.g. Work Permit, Passport, Approval Letter etc. You will need to complete some forms and you will be asked about the duration of your stay.

Please note that registering with a GP does not give you automatic entitlement to free NHS treatment at a hospital. The hospital providing treatment is responsible for establishing if you are entitled to treatment without charge.

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Applying for a National Insurance Number

If you have just arrived in the UK on a temporary work visa it is important that you set about applying for a National Insurance Number as soon as possible. A National Insurance Number or NI number is a unique reference number that relates to your Income Tax & National Insurance records.

PLEASE NOTE THAT COMMMONWEALTH CONTRACTORS DO NOT DEAL WITH NI NUMBER APPLICATIONS – PLEASE CONTACT JOBCENTRE PLUS ON 0845 600 0643.

Are you planning to come to the UK to work as a professional Contractor? Would like to find out about maximising your contract income or working towards a future visa extension? If so Commonwealth Contractors can help!

To discuss your situation with an experienced advisor call Commonwealth Contractors now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

How do I apply for a National Insurance Number?

In order to get a National Insurance Number you need to attend a 10 minute meeting with an advisor at a Jobcentre Plus.

The meeting should only be arranged once you have started work as you will require a letter of employment.

To book a meeting with an advisor call Jobcentre Plus on 0845 600 0643 between 8am to 6 pm, Monday to Friday.

The advisor will inform you of the documents you need to bring to the meeting (please see the document list below) and assign a time.

What documents are required?

In order to apply for a National Insurance Number you should prepare some of the following documents:

  • Passport
  • Full Driving Licence
  • Birth Certificate
  • Marriage Certificate
  • Tenancy Agreement
  • Payslips
  • A Letter from your Employer
  • Contract of Employment

What happens after the meeting?

After the meeting with a Jobcentre Plus advisor you will be sent a letter detailing your National Insurance Number, so long as you have been successful.

Sometime after the letter a National Insurance card is sent to confirm the number.

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To find out more about Commonwealth Contractors call now on 0800 294 4388 or Submit your Details and we will get right back to you!

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Opening a UK Bank Account

One of the most important things to do on arriving in the UK is to set about opening a UK Bank Account so that you can start to receive your wages. If you’re a Non EEA National on a temporary work visa you may find this a little bit tricky initially if you don’t have an employer. (more…)

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Getting Around the UK

As a Contractor you may find that you have to move around the UK in order to get the best contracts. The good news is that getting around the country is very easy, and although the cost of travel is reasonable you may find ‘peak’ travel times (especially on trains) to be expensive. (more…)

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Renting Accommodation in the UK

If you’ve just arrived in the UK one of the first things you’ll need to do is find suitable accommodation. It can be a bit daunting trying to find a place right away so maybe stay with friends for a few weeks or extend your Hotel / B&B stay until you work out the best location for you. (more…)

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