Is it difficult to live in London?

Emigrate to Great Britain

Current notice 05.01.2021: Due to Great Britain's exit from the EU, the entry requirements mentioned here are no longer up-to-date. You will be informed about all the news here shortly!

Great Britain is considered an attractive country for emigrants. It has vibrant urban life as well as calm and romantic landscapes. The UK labor market is also attractive to foreign workers. The wages in Great Britain, as in Switzerland, are much higher than in Germany.

But you have to expect high living costs here as well. Of course, there are regional differences in both wages and the cost of living. In the countryside, both are lower than in the metropolitan areas in and around the capital London or the large cities of Edinburgh and Glasgow in Scotland.

Great Britain is also a suitable country for emigrants because of the language. The official language is British English. The command of the English language, spoken and written, is a basic requirement in order to gain a foothold in Great Britain both professionally and privately.

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For whom is Great Britain suitable as a country of emigration?

The UK has a relatively low unemployment rate and the labor market for foreign skilled workers and academics is relatively good. Unlike in Germany, in Great Britain it is not that important to have a certain degree when applying for a job.

The professions that are particularly sought after in Great Britain include:

  • Doctors, Nurses and Nurses
  • dentists
  • psychiatrist
  • Social worker
  • IT specialists
  • Employees at banks and insurance companies
  • Employees in the pharmaceutical industry
  • Employees in the catering and hotel industry

In Great Britain there is the British Employment Service, which is comparable to the Employment Agency. She also helps job seekers from abroad. The British employment service can be reached online under “Universal Jobmatch”. Further information on jobs in Great Britain is available from the European mobility portal EURES, among others.

Requirements for an unlimited visa

As EU citizens, Germans do not need a residence or work permit to live and work in the UK. When entering the country, you should only have a valid identity card or passport with you. Unlike in Germany, there is no obligation to register with the residents' registration office in Great Britain. If you are staying in the UK for more than six months, you can apply for a permit residence, but you are not required to do so. The residence permit can be obtained from the "Home Office-Immigration and Nationality Department". It can also be requested via the Internet.

To apply for UK citizenship, you must have resided in the UK for at least one year or have not left the country for more than 450 days in the past five years. In addition, you should be able to speak English and not have a criminal record. As an EU citizen, Germans only need a valid identity card or passport to apply for British citizenship.

Further information is available from the British embassy in Berlin and the consulates in Düsseldorf and Munich.

Moving to the UK: what to look out for

Since Great Britain is an island, this alone makes moving more difficult, especially if you want to bring all of your belongings to Great Britain. In addition, there are some administrative procedures both in Great Britain and in Germany.

What you can already regulate in Germany:

  • Papers: Even if there is no obligation to register in Great Britain, you should de-register at the responsible residents' registration office in Germany when moving to Great Britain. A valid identity card or passport is sufficient for entry into Great Britain. You should also have other important personal documents with you, such as birth certificates, marriage certificates or job references. The German driver's license is valid in Great Britain. If you want, you can convert it into a British driver's license at the “Driver and Vehicle Agency”.
  • Pension and old-age provision: Germany and Great Britain have signed a social security agreement. Accordingly, the two countries recognize pension entitlements from the other country. Further information can be obtained from the Deutsche Rentenversicherung. The UK pension system is based on three pillars: the state pension, the company pension and the private pension. While the state pension is still the most important pillar of the pension system in Germany today, the pension in Great Britain is heavily geared towards private old-age provision. The state pension in Great Britain only covers around 15 percent of gross income. There are two systems for the company pension: the “Final Salary Scheme”, whereby the amount of the actual company pension is determined in advance, and the “Money Purchase Scheme”. This is where the contributions are invested and the amount of the pension depends on the performance. Private pension insurance can be taken out with banks or insurance companies.
  • If the household effects are to emigrate with: Moving abroad, and on top of that to an island, is associated with more costs and effort than moving overland and domestically. If you can afford it and don't have a lot of time, you have the option of hiring a forwarding company that is familiar with international removals. It is best to get several offers. Furthermore, it must be clarified whether the entire household should really emigrate with, or whether one would rather buy furniture in Great Britain. You may first rent a furnished apartment, which means that you don't have to take all the furniture with you from Germany to Great Britain.

What needs to be regulated in the UK:

  • Apartment Search: Rents are much higher in Great Britain than in Germany. This is especially true for the capital London. Most of the British have their own homes. Accordingly, the market for rental apartments and houses is rather small compared to Germany. Properties to buy or rent can be found under advertisements in local UK newspapers. Some of the local newspapers also publish the apartment advertisements on the Internet. There are also real estate portals that can already be used well from Germany to get an overview of what is on offer. If you are looking for living space in London, you can get information from the platform commute.from, for example. The property portals Zoopla and rightmove are ideal for a search throughout Great Britain. If you don't have a lot of time to look for accommodation on your own, you can also hire a broker (“letting agent” or “estate agent”). Of course, they charge a not inconsiderable fee if they have successfully brokered an apartment or house.
  • To apply for a UK tax card: Anyone who settles in the UK for the long term and works there needs a National Insurance Number. This can be obtained from the local social security office (“Social Security Office”). As in Germany, employers and employees share social security contributions. The amount of the contributions depends on the income. You can find out how high your own contributions are at "HM Revenue & Customs". In contrast to Germany, the self-employed are also obliged to pay social security contributions.
  • Setting up a bank account: In order to open a bank account in the UK, one needs a UK residential address as well as proof of having a job in the UK. If either or both are missing it will be more difficult, but not impossible, to open an account In Great Britain there is no compulsory registration, for example invoices with the residential address are accepted as proof of residence. There is also the option to open an account online. However, you should then already be in the country for three months, as in this case you will often be asked for bills with your home address from the last three months.
  • Health insurance: In the UK, health care is regulated by the state. Anyone who has stayed in the UK for at least a year is entitled to free treatment from the National Health Services (NHS). However, patients have to pay for certain treatments or, for example, pharmaceuticals in whole or in part, unless they are exempt from it. Many British people now take out private supplementary insurance to reduce the cost of personal care. There is also the option of fully private insurance. But even though you don't use the NHS in this case, you don't get any benefits, such as tax deductions.

Guide to working abroad in the UK

Book tips for emigrating to Great Britain

Note: Updated on May 23, 2021 via Amazon Product Advertising API. Dates and prices may have changed. We earn commissions for qualified purchases through the affiliate program.