As one of the leading countries in the world to do business in, the UK is a hotspot for some of the biggest global companies and brands in the world, and this makes it the ideal place for aspiring businessmen and entrepreneurs to come and work. However, as with any country, the UK has a number of laws, regulations and even customs that can make it a difficult place to navigate if you’re new to living within Britain.
If you’re looking to get your entrepreneur visa and work within the UK, or indeed are already living in the UK and are struggling to find your feet, then have a read of our ultimate guide to understanding life in Britain; you’ll be guaranteed to feel right at home in no time.
UK Tax Bands
If you’re working in the UK then a big thing to be aware of is the differentiating income tax bands, as how much you can expect to pay varies on which band you fit into. To work this out, it’s important to note that everyone is entitled to £11,500 of annual pay that is not taxed. After the initial £11,500 the amount of income tax you pay depends on the amount you are earning. Currently it stands that those who earn between £11,501 to £45,000 pay 20% of their earnings in tax, people who earn between £45,001 to £150,000 pay 40%, and those who earn higher than £150,000 pay 45%.
If you’ve moved to the UK and are looking at getting a house and a car, and settling down into British life, it’s important to firstly make sure that you get yourself a credit card. Though it may sound financially backwards, the only way you can prove to loan companies that they can trust you with money, is by showing them that you have a history of borrowing it. By getting a credit card you can build up a credit score, which in turn determines how much money you are loaned, and what interest rate you will be charged. By paying back your card quickly and on time, you can establish a good credit rating, and this will allow you to take out loans and mortgages at a good rate.
UK Healthcare Plans and the NHS
Although we have free healthcare with the NHS, routine appointments, checkups, and treatments can still end up costing a substantial amount over time. In addition to this, the immigration health surcharge means that there is an additional cost should you plan to live in the UK for longer than 6 months. Luckily however, with the option of a healthcare plan, you can breathe easy knowing that these costs will be mostly, or even entirely paid for. By paying a flat out yearly fee, you can be covered financially for any medical appointments or treatments that you may have throughout the year (up to a certain amount). There are a number of plans covering a variety of things, so it’s well worth doing some research and tracking down the best deals and plans to help you financially.
When you’re finding a place to live in Britain, there are several options you have at your fingertips. One involves searching directly by looking for people offering rented properties in papers, on social media or simply online. However this comes at a risk as there is often no background and very limited information available on the renter, meaning you could potentially end up in a sticky situation if they turn out to be problematic. However there’s also the option of going through an established estate agency, which has the massive perk of providing you with a legal and stable accommodation contract. However agencies require a certain number of documents before they will work with you. More often than not, this includes proof of work in the UK and references of character, however some agencies may require even more documentation than this. If you’re unsure of what to do in terms of accomodation when you first arrive, there’s also the option of short term rental sites where you can look at renting a property or a room for a contracted amount of time. Not only can this be a cheaper option but it also provides stability and allows you time to make plans.
When it comes to the morning business commute, public transport is the order of the day, especially within large busy cities. If you’re moving to a metropolitan area, it’s most definitely worth investing in public transport cards, be that for the bus, the train or the tube. Public transport can be costly, so it’s definitely worth buying a travelcard in order to save some of those precious pennies.
If you do decide to drive within the UK, firstly there are a few things to be aware of. Not only do you have to ensure that you are registered with the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA), but you may also have to exchange your foreign driver’s license for a British one while you’re here. Research which option applies to you and ensure that you have the proper license and documentation before you hit the road. Just make sure you drive on the left hand-side, as unlike most countries who drive on the right, British people drive on the left with the steering wheel positioned on the right side of the car.
If you’re looking to succeed with the UK business industry, it’s worth bearing in mind that networking is perhaps the greatest and quickest way to achieve progression within the British business sector. Often rather than posting jobs or promotions online or in a paper, companies simply seek a candidate through contacts and word of mouth. By ensuring that you build up a strong network of colleagues and friends, you may find yourself progressing up and up along your career ladder at an unprecedented pace.