Blogs > NHS Recruitment Process / Useful Information

NHS Relocation Packages

  • November 15, 2022

Accepting a job in the NHS is a refreshing and exciting feeling but completing the relocation process itself is often stressful and overwhelming. Multiple factors are involved when you transition from one country to another, and so NHS hospitals typically offer relocation packages to aid some of these relocation costs.

The NHS relocation package figure varies from hospital to hospital as they will each have their own Trust policy on relocation expenses. In this article, we’ll consider whether or not you’re likely to receive a relocation package when you move to the NHS, what you can claim for, how much money you’ll receive and whether or not you’ll need to pay anything back.


Will I get a relocation package if I move to the NHS?

 

The only fair way to answer this question is to say that each NHS Trust will have their own policy and each doctor will find themselves subject to different possibilities. Here are some considerations:

  • Some NHS Trusts have no relocation policy. Don’t think of this as a bad thing necessarily as it is often the case that they don’t need a policy since they are well staffed and don’t need to offer such attractive onboarding perks. Maybe they have a reputation for excellence or training and support which could be far more important to you than the cost of a single plane ticket.
  • No two NHS relocation policies are the same. Since they aren’t agreed nationally at NHS Employers level, relocation policies are localised usually to Trust level and all cover different things. Just because you’ve seen that a relocation package is available, check exactly what it covers and if that is going to be helpful to you.
  • The headline figure might not tell the full story. A relocation package of £8,000 might sound like a huge amount of money however you need to be sure that you’ve read the small print. If the policy only covers a single economy plane ticket and your GMC Registration fee then you’ll struggle to reach £8,000 and the headline figure really isn’t as exciting as it seems.
  • Relocation packages are sometimes reserved for certain applicants. It is very common for relocation policies to stipulate that they are only applicable to candidates joining niche specialisms or at senior grades. Again, you shouldn’t get too excited if you see that there is a relocation package until you know that it will definitely apply to the grade and speciality that you are applying too.
 

What will an NHS Trust relocation package include?

As we’ve mentioned, relocation packages vary depending on several factors including the Trust and the level of demand for your post. Check the terms for exact specifics but common items that you can claim for include:

  • Air travel
  • Airport transfers
  • Registration fees (GMC, IELTS, MRCP)
  • Short term accommodation
  • Long term accommodation
  • Visa costs
  • Shipping costs
  • Basic necessities like essential furnishings

If the policy is vague or unclear about what can and can’t be claimed for or if you have requests that don’t obviously fall in to one of the categories detailed, then don’t make any assumptions. The best thing you can do is to detail what you are looking to claim for in writing along with the costs involved and put it to your employer for them to agree or reject.

You should also look out for terms like ‘from port of entry’ which infer that you’ll only be able to claim for travel from the point that you arrive in the UK. Equally, be wary of accommodation expenses that refer to purchasing properties if your intention is to live in a rented property initially.

 

How much money will I be entitled to claim for my relocation expenses?

There will almost always be a limit on the amount that can be claimed and we recommend confirming in writing what you intend to claim for, as well as the associated costs, ahead of accepting so that there are no surprises later on. Be realistic about what you’re claiming for as well – if you’re travelling with family, does the policy cover their expenses too or are you asking for too much. Equally, if you’re claiming for something like airport transfers, they’ll need to be cost effective so show that you’ve considered all modes of transport and times of travel before booking.

As a general rule, it is very rare to see NHS Relocation Packages that exceed £8,000 as this is the point at which additional tax and national insurance have to be paid on qualifying expenses. You should consider whether or not the headline figure is actually that important to you anyway. If flights for you and your family are the most important factor then £8,000 may seem fantastic however if the policy only covers UK based travel then it becomes irrelevant.

 

What receipts will I need to keep to claim relocation expenses?

Keep in mind that you won’t receive the relocation expenses in monetary form, and you’ll need to pay for the expenses before claiming back the money. To make a successful relocation expense claim, our advice is to keep everything!

It’s better to be able to provide full information on your expenses than find you don’t have them later on. Keep in mind that your bookings might be done online so you could keep email trails as well. If you’re paying for things in a different currency to pounds sterling then you might want to request to pay in sterling or take a record of the associated exchange rate on the day. Expect to have your receipts scrutinised and keep as much detail as you can.

 

How can I negotiate an NHS relocation package?

As previously mentioned, each Trust will have their own policy and sometimes there is no room for negotiation. The most important thing is to ask upfront if there is a policy that you can access. It’s unlikely that it will be obvious so you may need to ask to find out.

Beyond that, if you’ve received the policy it should outline what you can and can’t claim for along with any criteria that need to be met. The best way to find out what you can specifically claim for is to consider what you actually want to claim for, detail it along with associated costs and then present it to your employer to check whether the claim is reasonable.

In doing this, you are getting everything upfront and in writing so there are no surprises for either party further down the line. Remember to be specific and reasonable in what you are asking for if you want it to be considered seriously. You’re going to be working with these people in a few months, so you don’t want to come across as greedy before you’ve even started!


 

Will I have to pay back my Relocation Expenses if I leave?

If you have signed a contract to join your NHS employer for 12 months or 24 months and agreed to receive expenses for your relocation as part of that, there is likely to be a repayment clause applicable. Most will operate on a sliding scale so you might be expected to pay back the full amount if you leave within the first few months and then reducing proportions as your tenure goes on. We can’t stress enough that relocation packages shouldn’t be seen as free money! They are meant for genuine relocation purposes and for those who are looking to relocate and settle on a long-term basis.


Has this been helpful?

Thanks so much for reading and if you’d like to ask us a question or get in touch then we’re always available on email via [email protected] or on any of our social channels. If you enjoyed this article, then you might like to learn more about Relocation Packages VS Relocation Support or NHS Payscales Explained

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