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The Ultimate Guide for Europeans Moving to the UK Post-Brexit

The United Kingdom is a popular destination for Europeans seeking better job opportunities, higher education, and a vibrant culture. But since the UK’s departure from the European Union on 31 January 2020, the rules and regulations for European citizens moving to the UK have changed. This guide gives you the information you need to move to the British Isles post-Brexit.

Posted in: Corporate News
Published Date: 09 June 2023



1. Check Your Visa Requirements

Since Brexit, European citizens no longer have the automatic right to live and work in the UK. Indeed, EU, EEA and Swiss citizens now require visas for stays longer than six months. To determine visa eligibility, the UK government has introduced a new points-based system. It is designed to attract skilled workers to the UK and prioritises those who can contribute to the economy. The type of visa you need will depend on your circumstances, such as your reason for moving to the UK, your age, and your qualifications.

If you want to live and work in the UK, the most relevant visa is the Skilled Worker visa. To be eligible, you need a job offer from a UK employer in a role that is on the government’s list of eligible occupations. You must also meet a set of requirements, including a minimum salary threshold, English language proficiency, and the ability to demonstrate your skills and qualifications.

Alternatively, if you’re a student looking to study in the UK, you will need a Student visa. To qualify for this visa, you must have an offer from a UK educational institution, sufficient funds to support yourself during your studies, and proof of your English language proficiency.

If you have another reason for moving to the UK, such as to start a business or to join your family, there are other visa categories available. These include the Innovator visa for entrepreneurs, the Family visa for joining family members, and the Youth Mobility Scheme visa for young people aged 18 to 30 who want to work and travel in the UK for up to two years.

In addition to meeting the specific requirements of the relevant visa category, you will need to provide the various documents required for that category and pay a fee. The exact application process will depend on your circumstances and the visa category you’re applying for.

Make sure you check the UK government’s website for current visa information.


2. Get a National Insurance Number

Moving to UK post-Brexit

If you plan to work or study while living in the UK, it’s essential to get a National Insurance number (NIN). This is a unique identifier used to track your tax, national insurance contributions and eligibility for certain benefits and services, such as the National Health Service (NHS) and state pension.

National insurance is paid by UK citizens and residents who are over 16-years-old and earn above £242 per week as an employee or are self-employed and making a profit of more than £11,908 a year (2023). To get a NIN, you will need to apply online or over the phone. Certain documents will be required as part of your application, such as:

  • Proof of identity: passport, national identity card, or driving license
  • Proof of address: utility bill, bank statement, or council tax bill
  • Proof of eligibility to work or study in the UK: a visa or work permit

Once you have completed the application process, you should receive your NIN within 3 to 6 weeks. Your NIN will be sent to you by post, so make sure the address you provide is correct and up to date.


3. Register with the National Health Service

Register with UK's National Health Service

The UK has a publicly funded healthcare system, known as the National Health Service (NHS). If you are living and working in the UK, you will need to register with the NHS to access healthcare services. To register, you can apply at any General Practitioner (GP). You can find your nearest GP on the NHS website.

During your application, you will be asked to provide proof of identity and evidence of your residence in the UK (passport or a UK driving licence), as well as a recent utility bill or bank statement. You may also need to provide evidence of your immigration status.

Once registered, you will have to access a range of healthcare services, including free consultations with doctors and nurses, prescription medication, and emergency treatment. It is important to note that some NHS services may require payment, such as prescriptions and dental treatment. European citizens should consider an additional health insurance to cover any their healthcare costs.


4. Open a Bank Account

Open a bank account in UK

Opening a bank account in the UK is the most convenient way to receive your salary, pay bills, and manage your finances. To open one, you will need to provide proof of identity and evidence of your residence in the UK. Some banks may also require proof of your employment status and your right to live and work in the UK. Certain banks allow online applications, while others will want you to visit a branch in person.

Applications take several days to be approved, so be prepared to be patient! The 5 largest banks in the UK are HSBC Holdings, Lloyds Banking Group, Royal Bank of Scotland Group, Barclays, and Standard Chartered.


5. Find Accommodation

Find accommodation in UK

Before embarking on an accommodation hunt, decide where you’d like to live and what type of accommodation you prefer. Then investigate whether it’s a realistic choice for your budget and lifestyle. There are several property search websites and apps available to help you in the decision making process, including Rightmove, Zoopla, and SpareRoom.

As in any country, the UK rental market is variable. Certain towns and counties are more expensive, and you might find it more difficult to find a place you like for a price you can live with. Rental regulations also change according to location, so be sure to research them carefully before making any final decisions.

When renting, you will likely need to provide proof of income and employment status as well as references from your employer or previous landlord.

If you are buying a property, familiarise yourself with the buying process and make sure you’re aware of all the costs associated with the purchase. In the UK, these include stamp duty, solicitors’ fees and land registry fees.

Costs can vary depending on the property’s value and location as well as who you choose as your mortgage provider. To get accurate information about a specific property, it’s best to consult professionals like solicitors, surveyors, and mortgage advisors.


6. Find a Job

Securing a job in UK

To work in the UK as a European citizen, you’ll need to find a job with a salary high enough to meet the minimum threshold required to qualify for a UK work visa. Your UK employer will also have to sponsor you to work in the country. This entails assigning you a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), a unique reference number that you will need for your work visa application.

There are many job search websites available, such as Indeed, Reed, and Monster. You can also check with recruitment agencies, attend job fairs, and network with people in your industry.

The UK job market can be competitive and finding a job may take time so don’t give up if you aren’t successful right away. Keep applying for jobs, networking, and building your skills and experience.


7. Manage your Funds

The cost of living in the UK can be high, particularly in larger cities like London, but how does it compare to Europe?


The largest expense when it comes to living in the UK, or anywhere, actually, is accommodation. And like anywhere else, how much you pay will vary according to property size and location. To give you an idea, here are the average rents for various apartment sizes across the UK (2023):

  • Apartment (1 bedroom) in City Centre – £900
  • Apartment (1 bedroom) Outside of Centre – £600
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) in City Centre – £1600
  • Apartment (3 bedrooms) Outside of Centre – £1100

Important to note is that these numbers do not extend to London, where the average rent for a one-bedroom apartment is around £1700 per month (2023).


London has one of the most extensive public transport systems in the world, comprising the underground, overground, buses and trains. A one-way ticket within London’s transport zone can range between £2.40-£4.90 depending on the mode of transport, while a monthly pass is priced around £65.75 (2023).

Car ownership, while an option, is much lower in London than in the rest of the UK. Given the numerous transport options, the lack of available parking space and the introduction of congestion charges to reduce city traffic, many Londoners feel that having their own set of wheels is just not worth the bother.

Utilities (Monthly)

How much you pay for heating, electricity, and water will depend on the location and size of your accommodation. You can also expect to pay a bit more than you’re used to, since UK gas and electricity prices have historically been higher than the European average. According to Numbeo, the average monthly utility bill for an 85m2 apartment in the UK is around £200.


Food is relatively affordable in the UK. The country has a wide variety of supermarkets and local stores, giving you plenty of options. The average meal at an inexpensive restaurant is around £15, while a pint of beer will set you back around £3. At these prices, it’s no wonder that pub culture is alive and well.

While the UK may be a costly destination, tax deductions and salary thresholds work to support its expat population. Nonetheless, be sure to research your living expenses carefully to avoid any nasty surprises.


8. Research Schools

Finding schools in UK

If you are planning to move to the UK with your children, it’s important to know that, although the school systems in the UK and EU share many similarities, there are also some key differences.

Education is compulsory for children between the ages of five and sixteen, and the UK school system is divided into two phases: primary education and secondary education. Primary education starts at age five. At age 11, children move to secondary education which they continue until age 16 or 18, depending on whether they go on to sixth form or college.

The UK education system follows a national curriculum, which outlines the subjects that must be taught in schools. It includes English, mathematics, science, history, geography, art, design and technology, music, physical education, and modern foreign languages.

There are three main types of schools in the UK: state schools, independent schools, and academies.

State Schools

State schools are funded by the government and are free to attend. They include both primary and secondary schools, and within secondary schools, there are also sixth form colleges (ages 16-18) that offer A-level qualifications.

Each school has its own catchment area, a predefined geographical area that it will accept applications from. Living inside the catchment area of your child’s school does not guarantee they will be enrolled there, but it does vastly improve their chances.

Independent Schools

Independent schools are privately funded and are therefore fee-paying. Confusingly for newcomers, they are often called public schools. This is because, unlike state schools, they are open to all students regardless of their location. Independent schools offer a more tailored and individual approach to education. They range from primary schools to sixth form colleges.


Academies are publicly funded but are independent of local authority control. They have more freedom in terms of their curriculum and can set their own term dates and school hours.

It is normal to feel a bit overwhelmed when deciding on a school, nonetheless, be assured that your children will receive a quality education in the UK that prepares them for success in the global economy.


9 Social Tips

The tea stereotype is true

The British love tea. In fact, tea (also known as a ‘cuppa’ or a ‘brew’) is by far the most popular drink in the United Kingdom, with over 100 million cups consumed every day.

Smoke outside

If you smoke, make sure to smoke outside. In the UK, smoking isn’t permitted in public areas such as restaurants, stores, bars, and train stations.

Pants are underpants in the UK

On a more British note, in the UK, pants are underwear and trousers are pants.

You drive on the left

Make sure you stick to the left when driving in the UK. If someone is waving you down while you’re behind the wheel, you could be on the wrong side of the road.

Are you planning to move to the UK? Let AGS Movers make your move hassle-free. Your new adventure awaits – let’s make it happen together!

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