Moving to London is exciting! But it can also be quite daunting trying to make sure you've done everything. There are a number of things that you can (and should) sort out before you get to London. We've done our best to summarise these for you:
Getting your visa
There are plenty of visa options available to you and if you don't have a British passport you will need to ensure you have a valid visa before entering the UK. Check out our visas page for a run down of the options available to you. We've done our best to summarise what we know, but this is an ever-changing landscape and we would always recommend you seek professional advice if you need it.
In order to get here, you're going to need to book a flight. Prices fluctuate and there are better and worse times of the year to book your trip across. We use SkyScanner to find the best flight deals. It's a good site to bookmark because once you're here, you're going to want to make the most of being an hour's flight away from the continent!
In terms of the best times to come over, there really is no right or wrong. March/April/May is great because it's coming to the end of the cold season and you're heading into summer! It also means that if you're on a 2 year visa, your visa will come to an end right at the start of summer too so you can do some travelling around Europe for the summer before going home. Likewise, coming over after summer means you get to enjoy the lead up to Christmas then finish your visa by enjoying the summer in London. There really is no right answer, it's whatever works for you.
When you do come across, check out our Events Calendar for a rundown of everything we're doing in London.
Finding somewhere to live
It's pretty hard to find a flat to live in while you're still in Aus. It's also a good idea to actually see where you're going to be living before moving in because flats in London are (generally) a lot smaller than Aus.
If you don't have a mate to stay with when you arrive, you'll need to either secure an Airbnb (expensive) or book a room in a hostel.
- Hostel World will give you a comprehensive list of hostels available in London. A couple that we've used in the past are:
- St Christopher's is a popular chain of hostels. We especially like their Hammersmith and Shepherds Bush branches as they’re right across the road from the tube stations, are in lively areas and have bars downstairs for that arrival pint!
- Wombats! Like all the others, has wifi, lockers and a lively atmosphere incl bar. Can't go wrong!
- Places like Generator are also popular too. With all types of room options from £9 a night and a raging social scene!
Finding A Job
It can't hurt to start having a look at what's available in the job market in London even before you get here. With the help of our mates at Kiwis in London and community feedback we've put together a list of recruiters and jobs in our job directory.
Your resume (CV over here) may need some tweaking in order to bring it in line with the UK way of doing things. A good recruiter should be able to help you out with this.
We often get asked, "how much should I save before I move across?" the answer is... as much as you can. You'll quickly find out that London is expensive. Securing a flat will usually require at least a month's rent as deposit and a month's rent upfront, so you could be looking at £1,200+ wiped out from your savings straight away. Most businesses here pay monthly too, usually around the 26th so depending on when you start your job it could be upwards of a month without a paycheck. There is no magic number, but we'd recommend having at least £3,000 saved up so you can support yourself until you get on your feet.
Transferring Money to the UK
If you have set up your bank account in the UK pre arrival, you can transfer your Aussie Dollars to British Pounds ahead of your move through our favourite Foreign Exchange Provider, Halo Financial, so your money is ready to use on arrival. Our TOP TIP here is ….DO NOT use your bank – they offer you terrible exchange rates and charge you an outrageous fee!
Even if you haven’t set up your bank account in the UK yet, at the very least talk to Halo Financial before you leave. They can help you achieve the best possible exchange rates and they don’t charge fees for our Aussies in London followers! Halo’s rates are awesome and they offer an award winning customer service. (something you’ll appreciate when you have to deal with British customer service!) We should add …. their Business Development Manager is a Kiwi, but she loves Aussies, so Halo really will look after you and help you to achieve more pounds for your dollars!
Once your account is set up with Halo, you can use Halo Online to transfer your money easily online or call Halo on +44 (0) 20 7350 5470 and they can guide you over the phone!
Keep an eye on our Facebook page, Halo will keep us updated on AUD and GBP exchange rates and alert us when the rates are good!
Or simply register with Halo to keep up to date with AUD/GBP or other worldwide exchange rates.
Phone: +44 (0) 20 7350 5470
*remember to mention ‘Aussies’ in London’ to get preferential exchange rates and no fees.
A lot of people aren't sure what to bring from home. Our advice would be to channel your inner Marie Kondo before you come across and only bring what you really need. London flats are generally pretty small so the less you have to fit in, the better. You're also likely going to buy a bunch of stuff when you get here (ironing board, iron, clothes drying rack, good winter jacket etc.) One thing we would definitely recommend you bring is an Aussie powerboard. If you've got more than one item which needs an Aussie plug, this can be a life saver as it avoids the need to use more than one adapter.
There are a couple of companies that exist just to help you out with all this stuff.
- BritBound can help you with your forms and they’ll throw in a welcome meeting when you arrive, sort your bank account and National Insurance number and they run some social events too!
- 1st Contact also offer a Kickstarter package with bank account, National Insurance number set up, money transfers and more.
Join the community
As well as our Facebook page, we've recently created a group which will allow you to chat to other members of the community, ask questions and socialise.