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A snapshot of... Bristol

By Alice Howe
January 25, 2021

Bristol is a hugely vibrant city with a rich maritime history. The city has a thriving economy, high employment rates, a fantastic arts and culture scene and offers a good balance of city-life and country living. Bristol is the largest city in the South West and one of the ten ‘Core Cities’ in Great Britain. The population is around 630,000 and in 2017 the city was named as the UK’s most desirable location in the Sunday Times Best Places to Live Guide. Described as “a small city that feels like a big city” Bristol has been described as “glamorous, creative, hi-tech and professional” jobs on offer with “great food and drink” and “the city crams in all the culture you could wish for”. The city’s diversity has also increased in recent years and now, there are over 45 religions, at least 187 countries of birth represented and at least 91 main languages spoken by people living in Bristol. These languages include Polish, French, Spanish, Somali, Urdu, Punjabi. The NHS in Bristol The University Hospitals Bristol and Weston NHS Foundation Trust is the newly merged Trust comprising University Hospitals Bristol NHS Foundation Trust and Weston Area Health NHS Trust. Bringing together a combined workforce of over 13,000 staff, the new Trust delivers over 100 different clinical services across 10 different sites serving a core population of more than 500,000 people. With services from the neonatal intensive care unit to care of the elderly, the Trust provides care to the people of Bristol, Weston and the south west from the very beginning of life to its later stages. They also provide specialist services such as children's services, cardiac and cancer services, and other smaller specialist services that are nationally commissioned, to a wider population through the south west and beyond.   Where should I live? Compared with other major cities in the world, house and flat prices in Bristol are relatively reasonable, however, the prices are rising rapidly as the area becomes more popular. As with every place in the UK, property prices vary area to area but the figures below will give you an estimation of what to expect in each area. Clifton and Redland Both areas are slightly more upmarket areas to live in Bristol, with a cosmopolitan feel. Each area is located within a good distance from the city centre. Redland is the cheaper to live in than Clifton but is still considered a very nice area in Bristol. Redland has some of the best state schools in the city and it is one of Bristol’s latest hotspots for families with its large Victorian houses, green spaces, allotments, and you are just a short walk from the city centre. A one-bedroom flat to rent in this area start’s from £400 and £700 for a two-bedroom flat. Clifton is one of the most picturesque and sought-after areas to live in the whole of Bristol. With its listed Georgian terraces, Regency crescents and garden-squares, Clifton is often the first-place people will think of when considering the move to Bristol. Its village offers independent cafes and boutique shops, or you can head to the Royal York Crescent for panoramic views across the city. A one-bedroom flat to rent in this area begins at £400 per month for a one-bedroom flat and £750 for a two-bedroom flat. Bedminster This area is filled with streets of period terraced houses, an array of shops and a fantastic range of pubs and restaurants. The area has two railway stations, with the Bedminster station taking you all the way to Exeter. In addition, a cycle path runs along the river from Bedminster to the city centre. The area is well-served by buses to the centre and the airport. A one-bedroom flat in Bedminster will start from £500 per month and a two-bedroom flat from £890. Redcliffe and the City Centre There have been dozens of new property developments taking place across Redcliffe and the city centre and the property here is in high demand. Bridge Quay, a recent waterfront scheme, sold its first 40 apartments in one day. The fundamental advantage of living in this area will have you close to all the action of the city, as well as great transport links across the UK. The average property price is affordable for living in a city centre, but please note that most properties will be flats or apartments. A one-bedroom apartment in the centre starts from £700 a month and a two-bedroom apartment begins from £1,200 a month. Average Monthly Expenses Housing Cost Monthly rent for 900Sqft furnished accommodation in an expensive area £1,900 Monthly rent for 900Sqft furnished accommodation in a normal area £1,200 Utilities for one month (heating, electricity, gas) for two people in a flat £350 Internet for one month £24   Transportation Cost One-way ticket £2 Taxi Start (Normal Tariff) £3 1 litre of Petrol £1.19       Entertainment Cost Dinner for two in a neighbourhood pub £28 2 cinema tickets £20 2 tickets to the theatre (best seats) £86 Dinner for two at an Italian restaurant including starters, mains, dessert and wine £53 Cocktail £8 Cappuccino £2.75 A pint of beer £4.32 1 month of gym membership £29 Education The city has over a hundred schools, most Ofsted-rated ‘good’ or ‘outstanding’. There is an increasingly diverse student population which provides extensive opportunities to work in a range of urban and suburban settings. Many schools have benefitted from extensive capital funding to ensure education buildings are of a high standard and in some cases ‘state of the art’. In addition to the large range of schooling, Bristol is also home to both the University of the West of England (UWE) and the University of Bristol; offering hundreds of undergraduate and post graduate degree courses. Transport Bristol is connected by road on an east-west axis from London to Wales by the M4 motorway and on a north-southwest axis from Birmingham to Exeter by the M5 motorway. To reach the north of England from Bristol you should use the M5 and M6 motorway. There are two key railway stations in Bristol: Bristol Temple Meads and Bristol Parkway with an extra 11 suburban stations. There are also scheduled coach links to most major UK cities. Bristol is also served by its own airport, Bristol Airport (BRS), at Lulsgate, the airport is the ninth busiest UK airport and offers services to major European destinations. By Train: Bristol to London – 1 hour 40 minutes Bristol to Manchester – 2 hours 59 minutes Bristol to Birmingham – 1 hour 26 minutes Bristol to Edinburgh – 5 hours 52 minutes Things to do in Bristol Clifton Suspension Bridge Clifton Suspension Bridge is more than just a masterpiece of design and engineering. Considered to be Brunel’s greatest work, it is an internationally recognised icon of Bristol. The bridge spans the Avon Gorge and the River Avon, linking Clifton to Leigh Woods in North Somerset. Bristol Zoo Bristol Zoo opened in 1836 and is a Victorian walled zoo located between Clifton Down and Clifton College, near Brunel’s Clifton Suspension Bridge. Bristol Zoo is the world’s oldest provincial zoo’s. Its mission statement is to “maintain and defend biodiversity through breeding endangered species, conserving threatened species and habitats and promoting a wider understanding of the natural world”.   Bristol Balloon Festival The Bristol International Balloon Fiesta is Europe’s largest annual meeting of hot air balloons and attracts over 130 Hot Air Balloons from across the globe. The event is held over four days in August at Ashton Court Estate and is completely free of charge. As well as the hundreds of balloons that fill the sky, there are a large number of trade stands, fairground rides, and entertainment. Museums and Galleries Bristol is well known for its rich heritage and artistic nature. Bristol’s museums come in all shapes and sizes. Brunel’s SS Great Britain offers an amazing immersive experience transporting you back to Victorian times, to the M Shed, the city’s social history museum housed in a 1950’s transit shed. You should also visit the Bristol Museum and Art Gallery, a museum which explores the city’s archaeology natural history and more. Last, there is the We the Curious, which is the only digital 3D planetarium in the country. Parks and Gardens Bristol is frequently described as a city in the countryside. It has plenty of green space to relax in the park with friends or visit the excellent play equipment to entertain your children. There are over 400 gardens and parks in Bristol and some of the largest ones in the city centre include Castle Park, Brandon Hill, and Clifton Downs. A popular option for many is the extensive grounds of Ashton Court Mansion. The Estate was once the home of the Smyth family and is now a historic park just ten minutes from the centre of Bristol. It covers 850 acres of woods and grasslands, designed by Humphry Repton. The estate also offers an 18-hole golf course, mountain biking and stunning views of the city. Fun facts about Bristol Bristol is the world’s biggest manufacturers of hot air balloons - Cameron Balloons in Bedminster makes the most balloons out of anyone in the world. Bristol invented time travel – A small piece of time travelling history can be seen on the clock at the entrance to St Nick’s market – the time shows ‘Bristol time’ and ‘London time’. Before the invention of GMT, trains travelling to and from Bristol to London used to operate on two different timetables, 15 minutes apart. The first bungee jump took place from Bristol Suspension Bridge – On 1st April 1979, a member of the Oxford University ‘Dangerous Sports Club’ bungee jumped from the Clifton Suspension Bridge and a new sport was born across the globe. The city has its own currency – In 2012 the Bristol Pound was launched, designed to keep money in the local economy, it’s enjoyed a great success in keeping trade local. Relocation If you are an IMG who wants to relocate to the UK and work for the NHS then send your CV to [email protected] – and one of our Specialist Advisers will be happy to guide and support you through your journey to the UK. We look forward to hearing from you! Alternatively, head over to our Facebook Group: IMG Advisor for an online support network of IMG’s who want to relocate to the UK. References Uhbw.nhs.uk. 2021. UHBW NHS - About The University Hospitals. [online] Available at: <https://www.uhbw.nhs.uk/p/about-us/about-us> [Accessed 25 January 2021].

An Interview with Dr Nick Scriven (NHS Acute Med Consultant)

By Alice Howe
December 23, 2020

BDI Resourcing had the pleasure of interviewing Acute Medicine Consultant and the past President of the Society of Acute Medicine, Doctor Nick Scriven. In this Interview, Doctor Nick Scriven explains how Acute Medicine differs from General Medicine or ED. He also covers what a typical working day looks like for an Acute Medicine Physician, his own training journey and the different associated subspecialties.   What is Acute Medicine? So in Acute Medicine we look after patients when they come into hospital, acutely, from either A&E or their GP. We tend to look after them for up to the first 48 hours. So we will assess them, stabilize them, then either discharge them or move them onto an appropriate specialist. That's usually any adult who comes in that doesn't need a surgical operation.  Acute Medicine can be as urgent as A&E. Normally around 2 thirds of our patients have been to A&E first and then have moved to us. A third of them will have come from their GP to us. So, we work alongside A&E for anything that's not Trauma, Paediatrics or Surgery.  We also do these extra bits like Ambulatory Care - that's another big part of our work.   At what point in your own career did you decide that you wanted to specialise in Acute Medicine? Well when I was training, Acute Medicine wasn't even a specialty yet! It's only actually been a training specialty for about 10 years. So, when I got my CCT, I did it in General Medicine and Respiratory but I had always enjoyed the Acute take, on-call work. The actual Acute Medicine specialty seemed to be invented in around 2001 - I remember one of the first posts coming out and I immediately thought 'that's interesting!'. It's exactly what I liked - a bit of everything for various amounts of times. It's fast and every day or patient is different. Whilst this may sound fast like A&E, I was always a Medicine Doctor. I chose Acute Medicine as a specialty over working in Emergency Medicine because I'm not the sort of Doctor that wants to fix broken bones or be in Surgeries for long periods of the working day or deal with really big trauma cases.   What sort of patients do you deal with? We see people with pneumonia, chest pains, overdoses, liver disease and all sorts of medical problems from the age of about 16 upwards. We're an important department that links everything together, sitting between A&E and General Medicine.    How did you get where you are today? Firstly, I did my undergraduate training and then did my medical rotations. Following that, I did my MRCP and then applied for a Registrar training program which at the time was Respiratory and and General Medicine. So I did my 5-6 years of that training and then began applying for jobs. The main thing to remember is, you have to have your MRCP to become a Registrar these days.  How difficult did you find the MRCP exams? I actually found the writing bit quite tricky. I failed the first one the first time and then passed the second. The clinical I found a little bit easier.   If an international Doctor doesn't have specific experience in Acute Medicine but has been working in another specialty such as General Medicine or Respiratory, can they enter into the NHS within Acute? Yes of course! The most important thing is to show enthusiasm and the fact that you've looked into the specialty a bit. Most people that have done General Medical training can do Acute Medicine, they just need to have the drive to do it and the want to work in that busy setting.   What does a typical day look like for an Acute Medicine Doctor? Every day is different. It depends on what rota you're on. My typical day, if I'm on the ward would be to come in and initially do a walk round, seeing all the patients on our ward including new patients that have come in during the night and those that were there the day before. That usually takes most of the morning.  Then in the afternoon, a Consultant will usually be there seeing new patients, with the Junior Doctors, as they come in and often you'll be working into the evening quite a lot. You'll often be doing routine shifts up until 7pm / 8pm at night. Other days you may be rota'd to do an Ambulatory Care Session where you'll go to the Ambulatory Care Unit and work in there. Some other days, you may be working general outpatient clinics, follow ups or maybe even another specialty interest. For example, I still do a Respiratory Clinic.    Can you subspecialise? Now a days, more and more people train specifically in Acute Medicine. There are areas within Acute Medicine that people do subspecialise in. Some Doctors will subspecialise in the more invasive Intensive Care side of it, whilst others may specialise more in the Ambulatory Care end of it. Some may subspecialise in Respiratory Support.   What is the Society for Acute Medicine (SAM)? It's been around since 2001 and is a Multidisciplinary society; in that any healthcare professional working within Acute Medicine can join it. We're about 75% Doctors and 25% non-Doctors. The latter includes Nurses, Physios, Pharmacists and Advanced Care Practitioners. We represent all those people that work in Acute Medical Units. We've currently got around 1000 members and are a growing influence in that we are regularly asked by the NHS for our views on certain things.  In general, SAM's goal is to promote best practice within our specialty in terms of patient care and things like career development for our specialists. We also provide advice on how to best train within Acute Medicine.  In a normal year we hold 2 conferences. One of them will be a very clinical based conferences whereby we discuss clinical advances and the other one will have a more political base.  We also have our own journal and magazine, which is recommended as reading material for any Doctor looking to sit the MRCP SCE Acute Examination.   Do you have any advice for international Doctors looking to work within Acute Medicine within the NHS? I suppose, you don't really know what it's like until you've experienced it. Come and observe, come and see what's going on! Especially with Acute Medicine as it may not exist in many Doctors home countries. There's only so much reading and research you can do.  

An Interview with Dr Ayesha Azam (NHS Pathologist and FRCPath Mentor)

By Alice Howe
December 04, 2020

BDI Resourcing had the delight of speaking with Dr Ayesha Azam, a FRCPath International Mentor and Digital Pathology Research Fellow at University Hospitals Coventry & Warwickshire (UHCW). We wanted to hear about her own experience with FRCPath and her advice for International Medical Graduates on how to revise.   Why did you decide to become a Pathologist? I was attracted to histopathology as a career option during the early stages of my foundation training. I was fascinated by the tremendous impact these tiny tissue sections on a piece of glass have on the diagnosis and treatment of patients. I liked the problem solving aspect as well as the diversity of the work involved.   What advice would you give to an international Doctor working towards their FRCPath? Preparing for this exam is a long-term process so start preparing well in advance. Individuals can have different circumstances and approach towards any medical exam, however, this exam is not something that you can pass with ‘cramming’. Check the curriculum for histopathology trainees on RCPath website that outlines the knowledge, skills and minimum experience required by the UK specialty trainees. Join the social media discussion groups relevant to FRCPath to get guidance and advice from those who have recently passed this exam. Having sufficient knowledge, skills and experience are crucial, however, you need to apply this knowledge in the context of UK practice. Familiarize yourself with the rules and regulations in NHS systems and RCPath’s cancer datasets and tissue pathways. It is important to remember that autopsy and gynaecological cytology are not included in the FRCPath part 2 exam and can be taken separately. For overseas candidates who do not have any experience of working in the UK, a clinical attachment can be very helpful option to observe and learn about local practice protocols. However, in the current pandemic situation this might not be feasible to arrange. The next thing that you can do is either get informal advice from UK based pathologists or sign up to International Trainee Support Scheme (ITSS) programme by RCPath. Over the last few years. I have been approached by few overseas pathologists over social media to participate inwebinars/online lectures on ‘FRCPath for Overseas’ and the feedback from the attendees has been really encouraging. I have seen lots of online international webinars (e.g. from RCPAth and CAP) and these can add valuable boost to your preparation. Attending relevant exam preparatory courses (either UK based or online) can be extremely beneficial to gain good understanding of what does this exam involve and how to approach each component. So explore your options with the key focus on learning about the UK pathology practice and combine it with your experience and knowledge to gain the required competencies. To sum it up all ‘plan ahead, speak to those who has recently passed the exam, make use of online resources, prepare well and give it your best shot’   How long did it take you to pass your full FRCPath? I was in a run-through specialty training program in the UK where we progress through well-structured 4 different stages (A, B, C and D). I completed my part 1 exam soon after completing first 12 months of training (Early stage B) and passed part two in my fourth year of training (Stage C).   How did you prepare? The things that helped me most were a detailed study plan, gaining exposure to lots of routine cases, guidance from my colleagues/mentors and attending preparatory courses.   Which parts did you find most challenging? I think cytology and short surgical components can be more challenging and that’s what I keep hearing from overseas FRCPath candidates who I mentored as part of RCPath’s ITSS programme.    Can you tell us about your own journey to the UK and what advice you would have for others? I moved to UK about 14 years back, at a rather early stage of my career. I completed IELTS, PLAB and UKFPO assessment to secure a foundation training post in West Midlands. Afterwards, I successfully qualified for a run-through specialty training post and now I am in the final few months of completion of my training. From my personal experience, I understand how it can feel to try and learn about a completely different system. People say ‘Pathology is global’, it truly is. So the pathology knowledge remains the same whichever country you have been trained in. The real difference is in the variations in practice and protocols that are relatively unique to each health system. I went an extra mile during my foundation training to get myself familiarized with the local practice protocols and I would give the same advice to overseas FRCPath candidates to put great emphasis on learning the practice protocols used in UK. Relocating to the UK If you are an international Histopathologist who would like to relocate to the UK, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to relocate to the UK.  

What to expect working as a Histopathologist in the NHS

By Alice Howe
October 21, 2020

  Histopathology in the UK encompasses surgical pathology, autopsy and cytopathology and is arguably one of the most rewarding and individually challenging medical career choices. Histopathologists are responsible for making tissue diagnoses and helping clinicians manage a patient’s care. The specialty determines the cause of death by performing autopsies and is integral to cancer management through staging and grading of tumours. As an international recruitment company, BDI Resourcing recommend that Histopathologists wanting to work within the NHS take the FRCPath route to their GMC Registration.   What should I expect? On a typical day as a Histopathologist within the NHS, you would spend time in the laboratory cutting up tissue specimens for processing by other laboratory staff, and time in the office making diagnoses at the microscope and writing reports on patients for doctors. Common procedures and interventions that you will be responsible for as a Histopathologist practicing within the NHS will include, but are not limited to: examination and dissection of surgical resection specimens, to select the most appropriate samples for microscope slides microscopic examination of tissues, with subsequent construction of clinical reports carrying out fine-needle aspirations carrying out autopsies It is important to note, that whilst you may not be spending much time directly with patients, you will be expected to work as part of a large multidisciplinary team, alongside a wide range of surgeons, physicians, GP’s, biomedical scientists, anatomical pathology technicians, radiologists and nurses. You will spend time presenting and discussing patient cases with these other healthcare professionals at multidisciplinary team meetings.  Additionally, you would also be expected to get involved in teaching and research in your expert area, especially if you are a more senior member of staff. The bulk of the day’s work for a Histopathologist within the NHS will usually consist of examining slides under a microscope and formulating clinical reports. The specialty is consultant-led, meaning that consultants will generally look at all the samples being analysed.   Can I specialize? Whilst there are no specific sub specialties within Histopathology, many Doctors have specific interests which they will pursue within their own workplace, whether it be Breast, Liver or Head and Neck. Instead of subspecialties, there is the option to join one of three CCT Specialist programs to which a Histopathologist may be appointed to during their ST3 level Training (after completion of their ST1/ST2 years within the UK). These CCT pecialties are: Forensic Histopathology Diagnostic Neuropathology Paediatric and Perinatal Pathology   Where will I be working? Working as a histopathologist, you’ll work in a hospital, alongside many other doctors, nurses, laboratory staff, biomedical scientists, secretaries and mortuary staff. Most histopathologists don’t have direct contact with patients, but their work plays a vital role in patient care. Due to the majority of a Histopathologists work being microscopy, you will spend a lot of your working hours at the desk in your office or cutting up specimens at the laboratory bench. In some cases, you may be required in the operation theatre of a Hospital for an urgent ‘frozen section’. In addition to this, histopathologists will usually be involved in multidisciplinary team meetings with clinicians in various settings around the hospital. Some time may also be spent in the mortuary.   Relocating to the UK If you are an international Histopathologist who would like to relocate to the UK , email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your relocation journey to the UK. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs to the group each day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos covering everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS. Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast! You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.   References Health Careers. 2020. Histopathology (Doctor). [online] Available at: <https://www.healthcareers.nhs.uk/explore-roles/doctors/roles-doctors/pathology/histopathology-doctor> [Accessed 14 October 2020]. Pathologists, T., 2020. Histopathology. [online] Rcpath.org. Available at: <https://www.rcpath.org/discover-pathology/news/fact-sheets/histopathology.html> [Accessed 14 October 2020].

How to Self-Isolate when you travel to the UK

By Alice Howe
August 12, 2020

  When you arrive in the UK, you will not be allowed to leave the place where you’re staying for the first 14 days you’re in the UK unless you’re arriving from an exempt country. An exemption was originally put in place, at the beginning of June, which meant registered health and care professionals did not have to self-isolate when travelling to England from overseas. Following the reopening of travel routes, and as more people begin to holiday abroad, the government has removed this exemption. You should self-isolate in one place for the full 14 days, where you can have food and other necessities delivered. You must self-isolate at the address you provided on the public health passenger locator form. This can include: your own home, staying with friends or family, a hotel or other temporary accommodation. You should not have visitors, including friends and family, unless they are providing emergency assistance. With this in mind, IMG’s can self-quarantine in shared accommodation and hotels providing they do not mix with others outside of the household. The people you’re staying with do not need to stay at home, unless they travelled with you. Can I leave the house for any reason? You cannot go out to work or school or visit public areas. You should not go shopping. If you require help buying groceries, other shopping or picking up medication, you should ask friends or relatives or order a delivery. A common question we have been asked ‘Can I leave to get my BRP?’. No, wait until your self-isolation period is over before leaving the house for such tasks. How to travel to the place where you are self-isolating When you arrive in the UK, go straight to the place you’re staying. Only use public transport if you have no other option. If you do use public transport, wear something that covers your nose and mouth and stay 2 metres apart from other people. If you have acquired your NHS position through an agency, enquire with them if they can organize pre-booking private travel arrangements for you. Can I change where I am self-isolating? You are not allowed to change the place where you are self-isolating except in very limited circumstances, including where: a legal obligation requires you to change address it is necessary for you to stay overnight at accommodation before travelling to the place where you will be self-isolating for the remainder of the 14 days there’s an emergency What If I can’t make my own arrangements to isolate? If you cannot safely self-isolate for 14 days, you should tell Border Force Officers when you pass through UK border controls. They will provide you with details of a booking service which you can use to obtain accommodation and self-isolate in at your own expense.   Finishing Isolating If you do not have any coronavirus symptoms after 14 days, you can stop self-isolating. You will then need to follow the same rules as people who live in the UK. At this point you will be able to pick up your BRP and any other documentation. Once you’ve finished your 14 day self isolation you can then attend your first day at your new job! References GOV.UK. 2020. Health And Care Workers To Self-Isolate On Return To England From High-Risk Countries. [online] Available at: <https://www.gov.uk/government/news/health-and-care-workers-to-self-isolate-on-return-to-england-from-high-risk-countries> [Accessed 11 August 2020]. GOV.UK. 2020. Coronavirus (COVID-19): How To Self-Isolate When You Travel To The UK. [online] Available at: <https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk/coronavirus-covid-19-how-to-self-isolate-when-you-travel-to-the-uk> [Accessed 12 August 2020].

Transferring money Abroad from the UK

By Alice Howe
July 29, 2020

Once you are settled in your new home and job, you may wish to send money back to your home country to help care for relatives or as a gift, but it can seem daunting trying to decide which method is best for your situation. In this article, we outline the ways in which you can transfer money overseas from the UK, what to be aware of, and which method will be most beneficial to you. It is important to note that we are not financial advisors and this article is a guide. We would always recommend that you consult a professional for further information.   Things to Consider Before you decide which method you wish to utilise to transfer money abroad, some important things to consider to help you make a decision are why you wish to send money abroad, how much you are intending to send, and how frequently you wish to do this. These are important questions to ask, as each method of transferring money will have its pros and cons, and these factors can help you narrow down which system will be best for you. We will outline which method is best for individual situations later in this article. Another thing to be aware of is exchange rates and fees. Certain methods will offer you better exchange rates and value for the money you are sending, and some methods may charge you a fee to transfer the money abroad for you. As we explain each method, we will outline the fees and exchange rates associated with each.   Methods of Transferring Money Abroad There are three main methods of transferring money from the UK to overseas accounts. These methods are: Bank Transfer Money Transferring Firms Foreign Exchange Brokers We will go into detail about the pros and cons of each of these.   Bank Transfer Bank transfers are considered to be the best option for transferring regular mid-range payments overseas, such as transferring money to parents or other family members overseas on a weekly or monthly basis. This is because bank transfer is considered to be the safest and most reliable option for safeguarding your money, and also the easiest way to set up a recurring payment. Unfortunately, whilst it is the most secure and often convenient method for long-term payments, the downsides are that the exchange rate will often not be particularly competitive, so you may not get the best value for your money. As well as that, it is likely that there will be fees involved with transferring money overseas, unless the bank you are transferring money to overseas is linked with the UK branch. Some branches have sister banks overseas, in this case, there are often no, or lower charges involved, though often for this to be approved, the bank account overseas must be in the same name as the bank account you are sending money from. The Money Saving Expert website offers some helpful advice on which bank is most beneficial for different countries, you can read more here. Pros It is the safest method of transferring money overseas It is the best method for small to mid-range regular payments Easy to set up regular transactions Most banks allow you to set up transactions online, over the phone or in your local bank, this may vary from bank to bank. You have protections of the Financial Services Compensation Scheme if you transfer money via a UK bank or building society – this will protect your money if something happens to the bank. Some banks allow free transfers between linked banks – both accounts may need to be in the same name, this will depend on the bank. Most banks have 24/7 online banking to allow you to transfer money whenever you need to. Some banks will allow you to transfer up to £50,000 in one transaction, but this will vary depending on the bank and method you are using, and some banks may have daily limits for safety reasons. Some banks do not charge fees if you are transferring money within the European Economic Area (EEA). Cons It is not the cheapest The exchange rate may not be the best, particularly large amounts over £5000 The exchange rate is often set in-house It could take 4-6 days for the bank transfer to process Rates won’t be competitive There are often fees for transferring money abroad, Barclays bank reportedly currently charges £25 for an international transfer and £40 for a fast transfer, or £15 if you set this payment up online.   How to set up a payment This will vary depending on your bank, but you will, of course, need a UK bank account to transfer money from, and your recipient will need an overseas account to receive the payment. As previously mentioned, ideally, they will have a linked account to save on fees, but as long as they have a bank account, they should be able to receive payment. Each bank’s requirements may vary slightly, but HSBC states that in order to make an overseas transfer, you will need: Your account details The name and address of your beneficiary The beneficiary’s bank code (this is also called a Business or Branch Identifier Code (BIC)) you can usually find this on bank statements. The beneficiary’s International Bank Account Number (IBAN) or account number – An IBAN is a set of alphanumeric characters, but depending on the beneficiary’s account, they may not have an IBAN, and may only hold an account number. These can usually be found on bank statements. The country of your beneficiary’s bank account The amount you wish to pay them Any reference you want included with the payment Your reason for making the payment These are HSBC’s current fees for transferring money overseas as well, please note that this will again vary from bank to bank, and this is only to give you an idea of how fees operate. Payment Type Online Branch Phone Postal HSBC to HSBC £0 £0 £0 £17 Euros outside EEA or any other currency outside of UK or any foreign currency (other than Euros) in the UK £4 £9 £9 £17 Euros within EEA £0 £0 £0 £17   Banks you Can Use Here are some banks that offer international transfers, we advise you to do your own research to decide which one will be best for your situation. HSBC Santander Royal Bank of Scotland   Money Transferring Firms Transferring firms are often considered to be the best option for fast, one-off payments, for example, if you wish to send money as a gift, and as these firms exist for the purpose of transferring money abroad, they have great systems in place for doing this quickly and efficiently. It is important to be aware that there are no compensation schemes in place to protect your money if the company went bust, so it is riskier than transferring money via your bank, but that said, some of the other benefits outweigh the negatives for many people. A final positive thing to mention about this method is that you aren’t restricted to simply transferring money to a bank account, whilst this is an option, it is also possible to send money to the recipient’s phone, or to a safe location for them to collect the money in person, depending on the country you are transferring to. Some recommended that you don’t send more than £5000 via a money transferring firm.   Pros Great option for fast transfers Exchange rates vary, but this can sometimes be beneficial. Some firms do not currently charge for transactions within the EU. Best option for small amounts of money. You can send money directly to an account, to their mobile or for cash pick-up. You can pay via your bank account, or via credit or debit cards including Visa, MasterCard, Maestro and Visa Electron. You are able to transfer money 24/7, though if you opt for pick up, the recipient may not receive it as quickly depending on the time difference. You may be able to send up to £50,000 in one transaction with some firms if you have satisfied their identity checks. Transfers can generally be made online or over the phone. Cons Fees are sometimes higher than they are with banks. There is protection with firms than you would have with a bank. It can take 2-4 days at most. It can take a few days to verify your account upon first signing up. It is recommended that you do not send more than £5000 via this method.   How to set up a Payment In order to make a payment with a firm, you will generally need to sign up with their website and create an account and also have your address verified, this can take a few days, so the initial set up can take some extra time. Once your account is verified, you can choose whether you wish to send money via your bank account or a debit or credit card, after which you may select the country you wish to transfer money to. Once you have selected a country, they will then be able to suggest different ways the beneficiary can receive the money, whether you wish to transfer it to their bank account, mobile phone or to a location for pick up. Please note that not all countries will offer all of these options. Once you have sent the money, you will be advised how long it will take for the recipient to receive the payment, though sometimes this will not include the length of the processing time. This is still a faster method than transferring money via your bank though. With the money transferring firm, Western Union, if you opt to send money for pick up, your recipient will be able to pick up the cash from a Western Union location, though when they can collect the money will depend on the location’s hours of operation, so it is important to bear this in mind if you need to send money urgently. Western Union also offers mobile transfer, again, other firms may not offer this, and it will be dependent on the country. If a country does accept this form of transfer, this can be an incredibly fast method of sending money, with Western Union claiming you can transfer money to the recipient’s mobile in minutes. You will need to ensure that the beneficiary has activated their mobile wallet with one of Western Union’s partner mobile operators in that country. At most, your recipient will receive the money within 2 days with this method. Finally, if you’re sending the money to the beneficiary’s bank account, it will likely take two working days at most for them to receive it. That said, Western Union does offer a faster service which you can find out about here. Western Union also stipulates that if you wish to send more than £799.99 within a five-day period, you will first need to confirm your identity with them, after that, they will allow you to send up to £4000 within a three-day period, and up to £50,000 per transfer with their faster payment option, though this may vary from firm to firm.   Money Transferring Firms you Can Use Western Union Azimo TransferWise   Foreign Exchange Brokers Foreign exchange brokers are said to be the best for large, one-off payments above £3000. It is suggested that they are great for payments for overseas mortgages or large purchases. They are also great because there are often no fees, or very low fees, particularly on large amounts of money, and their exchange rates tend to me more competitive than those of banks or money transferring firms, giving you the best value for money if you intend to send a lot of cash in one transaction.    Pros Good for large payments. No charge or low fees for transfers above £3000. Exchange rates are highly competitive. If you are making regular transfers, they may be able to lock you into a set exchange arrangement over a certain period of time, usually a year. Can be faster than transferring money via bank. Generally, offer a bank transfer or cash pick-up. You can manage payments 24/7. Payment generally arrives within 1-2 days. You can opt for priority payment to speed up this process. Transfers can usually be made online or over the phone. Cons They offer less protection than banks, so take care, particularly when transferring large amounts. It’s not worth the cost if you are sending amounts under £1000. Be aware of changes to the exchange rates – they can have a huge impact on the value of large amounts of money.   How to set up a Payment Sending money via this route is straightforward. You will need to open an online account, which is usually free to do, and will generally need to verify your identity during this process. Depending on the brokers, you will then state how much money you wish to transfer, and they will try to secure you the best exchange rate. Once they have offered you a rate and you have confirmed that you are happy and send them the funds to transfer, provide them with the details of your recipient’s bank account and they will process the payment and send it to the beneficiary. You will then receive a confirmation once the payment has been transferred. They generally accept money via bank accounts or debit or credit cards including Visa, Master Card and Maestro. Some brokers state that money can be transferred within a few minutes to a few days, like with previous methods, this will vary depending on the country and broker.   Foreign Exchange Brokers Currencies Direct Global Reach Moneycorp   Things to Note With all three of these options, it is important to note that your recipient may be charged to receive or collect the money you have sent. Sometimes, you can opt to pay these charges yourself, but it will be dependent on the company or bank. Registered or Authorised? As previously mentioned, transferring money via a bank is the safest method, as if anything happens to that bank, your money will be safe. This may not be the same with some firms and brokers. When researching firms and brokers you will see that all UK services will be registered or authorized by the Financial Conduct Authority. This is incredibly important to understand as it will give you some insight into how well protected your money will be if a firm or broker goes bust. Being authorised means that a firm or broker MUST keep your money separate from the company’s own money and accounts, meaning that if something happens and the company goes under, your money should be recoverable. If a broker or firm is registered, the directors of the company need only prove that their business is based in the UK and that they have no past financial criminal convictions, which means your money may not be kept separate from the company’s own accounts and funds, therefore, making it less easily identifiable, and less easily retrievable if the company goes bust. It is also important to be aware that unless they state otherwise on their website, some brokers and firms will not be covered by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. This means that if a company goes under and does not have the funds to pay you back, you will not be able to claim for compensation under the Financial Services Compensation Scheme. So where possible, we would strongly advise ensuring that a firm or broker is covered.   Finally, it is important to note that we are not financial advisors, and this article is merely a guide. Please consult a professional for further information.   Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who has decided that you would like our support in securing an NHS service post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS job and on your relocation journey. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to join the NHS and relocate to the UK. We post a series of blog and vlogs to the group every day. We will also be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos covering everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS. Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast! You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.   References Hsbc.co.uk. (2020). Currency Transfer - Send Money Abroad | HSBC UK. [online] Available at: https://www.hsbc.co.uk/international/money-transfer/ [Accessed 27 Jan. 2020]. Westernunion.com. (2020). How to send money abroad from £0 fee | Western Union UK. [online] Available at: https://www.westernunion.com/gb/en/send-money-abroad.html [Accessed 27 Jan. 2020]. Postoffice.co.uk. (2020). International Money Transfer | International Payments | Post Office. [online] Available at: https://www.postoffice.co.uk/international-money-transfer [Accessed 27 Jan. 2020]. Meadows, S. (2020). International money transfers: what is the safest way to send money abroad?. [online] The Telegraph. Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/consumer-affairs/international-money-transfers-safest-way-send-money-abroad/ [Accessed 27 Jan. 2020]. MoneySavingExpert.com. (2020). Sending Money Abroad. [online] Available at: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/banking/foreign-currency-exchange/ [Accessed 27 Jan. 2020]. The Telegraph. (2020). The cheapest way to send money abroad. [online] Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/transferwise/the-cheapest-way-to-send-money-abroad/ [Accessed 27 Jan. 2020].

Our Top 5 Tips for coping with lockdown

By Alice Howe
May 27, 2020

Whilst we are beginning to see the lockdown measures in the UK ease, we are aware that certain aspects of lockdown and self-isolation will remain the same for the foreseeable future. The following article aims to outline BDI Resourcing’s Top 5 tips for coping in Lockdown.   Keep Active An absolute ‘must’ during lockdown! Here in the UK, you are allowed out of your house (as long as you are social distancing) for unlimited amounts of outdoor excersize. Whether you fancy a long run, a fast walk, a relaxing bike ride or even a workout in the garden –keeping active is a great way to ward of the psychological issues associated with being in lockdown. Doing a form of exercise helps lower stress hormones and promotes the release of feel-good hormones, such as endorphin. If you are in the situation where you are having to self-isolate and therefore not leave the house, there are still ways you can stay active and continue a workout routine. Using YouTube or Instagram to watch online workout tutorials is a great way to stay motivated. For a more relaxed form of exercise and a way to keep active, is to participate in some yoga or pilates tutorials. You can even access a lot of online classes provided by personal trainers through skype or zoom! Stay social! One of the most important tips for coping with lockdown is to make sure you’re staying social, which essentially means keeping in touch with friends, family and colleagues. Whilst you may not be able to see others in person and we can’t replace the value of face-to-face interactions, we can be flexible and interact creatively in these circumstances. There is a huge variety of applications that are free to use in order to contact or video call your loved ones.   Popular applications to use for online quizzes, video calls and even joint workouts include Skype, Facetime, Zoom, WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams, Facebook Messenger and Google Hangouts. Baking/Cooking One very popular hobby that we think is a great idea to explore and try to master during lockdown is baking and/or cooking! If you find yourself with a bit more time on your hands and in need of cheering up, now is the perfect opportunity to experiment with some new recipes – with thousands available for free online! Cooking is therapeutic and rewarding, providing an activity that also rewards us with something (hopefully) delicious to eat at the end of it. Reading The importance of reading at the moment cannot be understated – it gives us all a way to relax, bond with our families, enjoy time alone and escape the current situation. Many people are using the current lockdown situation to curl up on the sofa at home, or in gardens while it’s sunny, and lose themselves in fiction.   Keep up to date with your studies Last but not least, one very important thing to do during lockdown is to make sure you are keeping up to date with your studies. Whether this means revising your CV, revising for PLAB or a Royal College examination.. whatever it may be.. this is important for both your mental health and your future goals. We are aware that due to the Covid-19 pandemic the majority of exams have been cancelled or delayed – thus, giving you extra time to be used efficiently towards preparation and ensuring you have the relevant study materials. Please note, BDI Resourcing have a variety of useful Blogs and Vlogs that can be found on our Facebook, our website and our YouTube channel, that might come in handy when revising!

What to expect working in Emergency Medicine in the NHS

By Alice Howe
May 13, 2020

Emergency Medicine, also referred to in the UK as A&E, ER and ED, is arguably the most in demand specialty within the NHS. Working as an Emergency Medicine Doctor in the NHS gives you the opportunity to secure jobs offering competitive salary, excellent career progression and access to specialty training.   What should I know? Emergency physicians will be expected to liaise with other specialties, coordinating the initial phase of a patients journey through the hospitals A&E department. They also interact with many people during the shift, including patients, nurses, relatives, junior doctors, consultant colleagues, ambulance crews and even the police. One very important thing to note, is that Doctors working in Emergency Medicine should expect to do an appreciable amount of night time and weekend work as ED’s are open 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, making this a very demanding and rewarding specialty.   Where will I be based? On a general basis, if you are a Doctor working in Emergency Medicine you will predominantly be in the specific hospitals A&E department, however some posts will be carried out in trauma centres, walk-in centres and in-patient hospitals.   What is the difference between Emergency Departments and Trauma Centres? The Emergency Department is where patients go when they need emergency assistance, whether it be a sprained ankle, a heart attack or a stroke. In this way, the ED is a varied unit that has the facilities, doctors and expertise to handle almost any ‘emergency’ medical situation. Trauma Centres are normally located within the ED, however some major units will be separate from the hospital. Here they handle the most extreme Emergency cases or life-threatening injuries. Here you’ll find highly trained physicians who specialise in treating traumatic injuries, who will include: Trauma and Orthopaedic Surgeons Neurosurgeons Cardiac Surgeons Radiologists Nurses   As a method of comparison, the following table aims to highlight the difference in medical cases in both Trauma and ED units:   Emergency Department Trauma Centre Broken Bones Fainting or loss of consciousness Heart attacks Burns Strokes Severe vomiting/diarrhoea Severe pains Gunshot and stab wounds Major burns Serious Road Traffic Accidents Blunt trauma Brain or Head Injuries Amputations Relocating to the UK If you are an international Emergency Medicine doctor who would like to relocate to the UK , email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your relocation journey to the UK. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs to the group each day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos covering everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS. Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast! You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this. Finally, we have just launched our new Instagram, so if you are a member, feel free to follow us to view our posts and IGTV: @bdiresourcing   References Unitypoint.org. 2020. ER Vs. Trauma Center: What's The Difference? (Infographic). [online] Available at: <https://www.unitypoint.org/livewell/article.aspx?id=cafe17aa-df46-410c-9b6d-7855bf760f83> [Accessed 12 May 2020]. UPMC HealthBeat. 2020. What Is A Trauma Center? | Trauma System Levels | ER Or Trauma?. [online] Available at: <https://share.upmc.com/2016/05/what-is-a-trauma-center/> [Accessed 12 May 2020]. London Ambulance Service NHS Trust. 2020. Emergency Trauma Care - London Ambulance Service NHS Trust. [online] Available at: <https://www.londonambulance.nhs.uk/calling-us/emergency-trauma-care/> [Accessed 12 May 2020].

How to Get British Citizenship

By Samantha Joubert
May 01, 2020

If you have lived and worked in the UK for a number of years or are planning to remain in the UK on a long-term or permanent basis, you may wish to apply for British Citizenship. Some of the benefits of obtaining British citizenship are that you will be eligible to receive free healthcare from the NHS, you will be granted access to unemployment allowances, you’ll have the right to vote and you can apply for a British passport. In this article, we will shed some light on what makes someone eligible to apply for British citizenship and the requirements necessary for the application process.   Eligibility There are a few different circumstances that may make you eligible to apply for British citizenship, these depend on your status within the country and how long you have lived within the UK. You may be eligible to apply for citizenship if: You have Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) If you have Permanent Residence status You have ‘settled status’ under the EU settlement scheme You’re married to or in a civil partnership with a British citizen There are some requirements specific to each of circumstances listed above which will determine whether or not you’re eligible to apply, we will explain these in further detail later in this article.   General Requirements No matter what your circumstances are, there are some overarching requirements that you must comply with, such as evidencing your English skills and completing certain tests. So, whether you have IRL or are married to a British citizen, you will need to adhere to these conditions. The most basic requirements that require little explanation are: You must intend to continue living in the UK on a long-term basis You must be 18 years of age or older   Evidencing your English Language Skills This should be a familiar requirement as it will have been necessary to obtain GMC Registration, and to get your Tier 2 Visa as well. In order to apply for British Citizenship, you will also be expected to prove your knowledge of English, Welsh or Scottish Gaelic skills, depending on where you’re hoping to settle. To evidence your English language skills, you can either use UK NARIC, or you will need to pass a Secure English Language Test (SELT). If you passed IELTS in order to obtain GMC Registration, you will be able to use this as proof of your English language skills, even if has since expired. You will need to provide a certificate or evidence of your score. Unfortunately, the OET is not currently accepted by the Home Office, so if you passed OET for GMC Registration and your Visa application, you will need to sit either IELTS or the Graded Examinations in Spoken English (GESE). It may be a relief to know that you will only need to achieve a score of 4 in IELTS in order to be eligible to apply for British Citizenship, unlike the score of 7.5 necessary for GMC Registration. GESE, on the other hand, is slightly different to IELTS as you will be able to take tests at different grades. You will need to achieve a pass in a GESE grade 5 test in order to be eligible to apply for British Citizenship, if you pass a GESE test of a lower grade, this will not be accepted by the Home Office. You can learn more about GESE on the Trinity College website.   Life in the UK Test Before you can apply for British Citizenship, you will also need to pass the Life in the UK Test. The purpose of this test is to ensure that anyone applying for citizenship has sufficient knowledge and understanding of British history, society and values to make them a good candidate to obtain citizenship. The test itself is computer based, consisting of 24 questions and will take roughly 45 minutes to complete. You can only book the test online, on the gov.uk website, and must book at least three days in advance. The fee is currently £50, which you will pay during the booking process. There are over 30 test centres in the UK, so it should be relatively easy to find one nearby. In order to go through with your booking, you’ll need an email address, credit or debit card and an accepted form of ID such as a passport, UK driving license (full or provisional), certificate of identity document, EU identity card, immigration status document endorsed with a UK residence permit that has a photograph or your biometric residence permit. It’s also important to ensure that the name you input when booking your test matches the name on the document you intend to use as identification. On the day of the test, you must take the same form of identification you used to book your test. You will also need to provide proof of address, this can be a gas, electricity or water bill, a council tax bill, a letter from the Home Office, a UK photocard driving license (full or provisional), a bank or credit card statement. Whichever document you use as proof of address, it must not be the same document you used for proof of identity, it must be the original document rather than a copy, and it must include your name, address and postcode, and be dated within three months of the day of your test. In order to pass and to be eligible to apply for British Citizenship, you will need to score 75%. If you pass, you’ll be sent a letter notifying you of this, and this is the document you must send to the Home Office in order to prove that you have passed this test and meet the criteria to apply. Once again, you must send the original document, not a copy. The best way to prepare for the Life in the UK Test is to purchase the handbook, as this book covers any questions that may come up on the test. You can order the handbook here.   Good Character Assessment The Gov.UK website states that to be eligible to apply for British Citizenship, candidates must be ‘of good character’. This essentially means that during your time living in the UK, you have abided by and been respectful of UK laws and fulfilled any relevant obligations and duties of being a UK resident such as paying income tax and making national insurance contributions. As well as this, if you have breached any of the UK immigration laws in the past ten years, this will reflect badly on your character.   Proof that You have Lived in the UK for Several Years One of the basic requirements to apply for citizenship is that you have lived in the UK for a number of years, usually five. The only exception to this rule is if you are applying for citizenship because you are married to a British citizen, you will only need to have lived in the UK for three years in this situation. You will be expected to provide evidence that you have lived in the UK for five (or three) years and that you were actually in the country five (or three) years prior to your application. Documentation you can use as proof includes tax documents such as your P60 or a P45, a letter confirming your employment from the hospital you were working in at the time, council tax bills, mortgage statements, tenancy agreements, bank statements or pension statements from your employer at the time. Extra Requirements if you have Indefinite Leave to Remain or Settled Status ILR and Settled Status have identical requirements, if you are a member of the EU, EAA or Switzerland, ILR may be referred to as ‘settled status’ or ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’. If you hold either of these, in addition to the general requirements listed, you must also have lived in the UK for five years, as mentioned previously, and have held ILR or settled status for 12 months prior to your application. It is important to note that you won’t be eligible to apply for British Citizenship if you have: Been outside of the UK for more than 450 days during the five years prior to your application. Spent more than 90 days outside of the UK in the last 12 months. Have broken any immigrations laws.   Extra Requirements if you are Married or in a Civil Partnership with a British Citizen As previously mentioned, if you are applying for citizenship because your spouse is a British citizen, you will be an exception to the five years of residency rule. In order to apply, you must be able to prove that you have lived in the UK for three years, prior to your application. To apply for citizenship, you will also need to have one of the following: A document proving you have permanent residence status in the UK. Indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Settled Status (also referred to as ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’). Indefinite leave to enter the UK (permission to move to the UK permanently from abroad).   You will not be eligible to apply for British Citizenship if you have: Been outside of the country for more than 270 days during the last three years prior to your application. Spent more than 90 days outside of the UK in the last 12 months. Broken any UK immigration laws. If your spouse who was a British citizen has died.   Extra Requirements if you have Permanent Residence status Under this circumstance, you will need to prove your status by providing a permanent residence document. You can apply for this document on the Gov.UK website. As previously mentioned, you must have lived in the UK for at least five years prior to your application and must have held permanent residence status for at least twelve months. You will not be eligible to apply for British Citizenship if you have: Been out of the UK for a period of two years or more since obtaining your permanent residence status. If you have been outside of the UK for more than 450 days in the last five years. If you have been outside of the UK for more than 90 days in the last twelve months. Broken any UK immigration laws.   How do I Apply? The application fee is £1,330, you will also have to pay an additional £19.20 to have your biometric information, consisting of your photograph and fingerprints, taken. If you meet all of the requirements and have completed the relevant tests, you will need to fill in an application form on the Gov.UK website which can be found here.   Citizenship Ceremony The final step in the process of obtaining British Citizenship is attending a Citizenship Ceremony. If your application has been accepted and you have provided the Home Office with the necessary documentation, they will send you an invitation to attend a citizenship ceremony. Upon receiving your invitation, you must book to attend a ceremony within three months, and you can do this with your local council. These events tend to be group ceremonies and cost £80, though it is possible to book a private ceremony, if you would prefer, but it will be more expensive, and the price varies depending on the local council’s rules. You will also be permitted to invite two guests, if you wish. During the ceremony you will make an oath of allegiance to God (you may choose your religion), and a pledge that you will respect the laws, freedoms and rights of the UK. If you are not religious, you are also permitted to make an affirmation instead. At the end of the ceremony, you will be presented with your certificate of British Citizenship and a welcome pack, so if you don’t attend the event, you won’t be granted British Citizenship.   Relocating to the UK If you’re an international doctor with plans to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your cv to [email protected] and we would love to help you on your journey to the UK. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 50 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with the IMG Advisor Podcast! You can find us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher, and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.   References Gov.uk. (2019). British citizenship - GOV.UK. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/browse/citizenship/citizenship [Accessed 11 Dec. 2019]. Ukcitizenshipsupport.com. (2019). Explore the Benefits of Obtaining British Citizenship. [online] Available at: https://ukcitizenshipsupport.com/british-citizenship-info/british-citizenship-benefits/ [Accessed 11 Dec. 2019]. Citizensadvice.org.uk. (2019). Preparing to apply for pre-settled and settled status. [online] Available at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/immigration/staying-in-the-uk-after-brexit/preparing-to-apply-for-pre-settled-and-settled-status/ [Accessed 11 Dec. 2019].  

State vs Private Schooling - What is the difference?

By Alice Howe
March 18, 2020

Education is an important part of raising children and preparing them to live successful lives and we understand that if you have children, finding the right school for them is a crucial step of your relocation journey. In this blog, we have identified the main differences between Private and State Schools in order for you to have a wider understanding of education within the UK.   Funding The main and most obvious difference between State and Private schools is how they are funded. Whilst State schools are financed by the government, Private Schools are largely financed by school fees paid by parents. This means that tuition fees for Private Schools tend to be high and expensive. On the other hand, private schools often have more financial aid access and consequently can award scholarships. On average, Private Secondary School Fees in the UK per year for day pupils are £15,000, whilst a boarder would pay £33,000.   Boarding As previously mentioned, some parents opt to pay more in order to have their children ‘board. A boarding school provides education for pupils who live on the premises, as opposed to a day school. The majority of UK boarding schools are private however there are a few state schools in the UK where students can board for an additional price. For Private schools, you will need to pay for tuition and boarding.  Boarding fees generally cover items such as accommodation, food and drink and laundry. It is important to note that every school is different and consequently we advise Asking the schools that you are interested in what they offer in their ‘boarding package’.   Class Size Private schools do tend to be much smaller in size than State Schools, and thus may provide a more interactive and personal learning experience for students. The average class size in Secondary schools in the UK is currently 22 pupils, decreasing to 14 pupils at A-Levels whilst private schools may range from 8-15 pupils.   Subjects While a Private school might be more desirable due to class sizes, this might also result in fewer subject choices within the curriculum. Whilst the curriculum will always contain Core and STEM subjects, such as Science, Maths, English, Languages, I.T, History and Geography, there will be less choice of specific subspecialties within the curriculum for students.     Applications The application process for state schools is generic. You must apply through your local authority for a place at a primary or secondary school, even if it’s linked to your child’s current primary school. Most local authorities will ask for a list of three or four schools in order of preference, however London requests six. If your child qualifies for more than one of the schools, you will be offered a place for the school that is highest on your list. If you want to apply to a private school, you will need to check out their specific websites as each establishment will have its own specific process. It is advisable to plan a few years ahead if you have a specific private school in mind, as many secondary private schools will have ‘feeder schools’, from which they take the majority of their first year intake. If you ae considering private education, visit the website of the Independent Schools Council. Both Private and State schools will have their own admissions criteria. It is important for you to read the admissions criteria you look the look of, before filling in your application form. If you do not meet one of the first few criteria bands of the school you apply for, you are most unlikely to get a place.   Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who would like to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to relocate to the UK. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs to the group every day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos covering everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS. Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast. You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.                                                                                                                             References Study-uk.britishcouncil.org. (2020). Boarding schools | British Council. [online] Available at: https://study-uk.britishcouncil.org/find/study-options/boarding [Accessed 12 Feb. 2020]. ThoughtCo. (2020). Public vs. Private Schools: 5 Major Differences. [online] Available at: https://www.thoughtco.com/major-differences-between-public-and-private-2773898 [Accessed 12 Feb. 2020]. Writer, S., Walsh, J., Walsh, J., Walsh, J. and Walsh, J. (2020). Private School vs. State School: Which Would Work Best for You? - Peterson's. [online] Peterson's. Available at: https://www.petersons.com/blog/private-school-vs-state-school-which-would-work-best-for-you/ [Accessed 12 Feb. 2020].  

How to Build your Credit Score

By Alice Howe
February 12, 2020

When you relocate to the UK, no matter how much credit history you managed to build in your home country, you will essentially be starting from scratch in the UK. As such, there will be certain things you won’t immediately be able to do once you arrive in the UK, for example, you won’t be able to apply for a mortgage, loan or even particular types of phone contract at first. In this article, we will explain the best ways to build up your credit rating to allow you to apply for credit and work towards buying a house in the future. Please note that we are not financial advisors and this article is merely a guide. Please consult a professional if you would like further information.   What is a Credit Score or Rating? Your credit score or credit rating is what a potential lender would use to assess you to ensure that you are a good investment. When you first arrive in the UK, you will likely have a poor credit score, purely because you do not have any credit history. There is a myth that you have a fixed credit score, however, different lenders may use slightly different methods to assign a credit rating to you, and these may vary slightly from lender to lender. Essentially, their assessment will determine whether they’re willing to lend you money, if you’ve had any credit products in the past, how reliable you were at paying money back, how much they are willing to lend you and how much interest you will be charged. You may wonder why having no credit history means that you have a poor credit rating, the reason for this is that lenders have no way to assess if you will be a good and safe investment for them, if you look at it from the lender’s perspective, they only want to lend to people who will reliably pay their money back, this is why it is important to start building your credit score as soon as possible.   How can I build my Credit Score?   Get a UK Address This will likely be something you do quite soon after you arrive in the UK anyway, so it will hopefully be an easy win! Having a fixed, UK address is an excellent way to start building your credit score. The reason for this is that in order to borrow money from any lender, you will require a permanent residence. As well as this, they can use this information to confirm your identity, and if you have multiple forms of credit further down the line, they will likely check that all of your credit agreements are linked to the same address to ensure that you are not a fraudster.   Keep Your Accounts up to date Linking on from the previous point, once you do have accounts, it is important to ensure that you keep these up to date, inform the bank if you change your address. It may seem like a small thing, but having the wrong address listed on accounts can have a big impact on any credit applications you make, as previously mentioned, this is one way that lenders check your application is legitimate, if they see you have multiple addresses listed, even if this is an old address, they could deny your application for fear that it is not legitimate.   Open a UK Bank Account It can be tricky to open a UK bank account initially as you will need proof of address in order to open an account, and you need a UK bank account to secure accommodation! If you have not yet secured accommodation, this can be a hindrance. That said, there are now online banking services such as Monzo that only require a passport and video of yourself to open them.  For more detailed information on how to open a UK bank account, you can read one of our previous articles. Once you have opened a bank account, this can be a great and simple way to build credit. Make sure to maintain it by ensuring that, if possible, you always have enough money in your account to cover your payments and bills each month. This is beneficial as it shows lenders that you can maintain a responsible relationship with a bank. As an alternative to applying for a credit card, in certain situations, banks may offer you an interest-free overdraft for the first 12 months of being an account holder, this is a great way to build credit so long as you ensure to always pay it off in full before the end of the interest-free period.   Set Up Direct Debits This one goes hand-in-hand with the previous point. Set up direct debits for your bills and rent to ensure that they are paid on time as any late or missed payments could cause issues when you are applying for credit.   Provide Proof of Employment This may seem like an easy one, but being able to prove that you are in a stable job with a regular income will give your credit score a little boost, as it proves to lenders that you have the means to pay them back. Once you have been receiving regular pay into your bank account for a few months, this can help you to apply for credit.   Get a Mobile Phone Contract You may not be able to do this immediately as you may need to build a little credit first, or you may only be able to apply for a SIM only contract to begin with. You can learn more about acquiring a phone contract in our previous article about things to do when you first arrive in the UK. This would be considered a small credit account, so you will not need to build as much credit to open a phone contract as you would, for say, a mortgage. Ensure that you pay your phone bill on time every month, and this will show lenders that you can reliably make repayments.   Get a Credit Card Once again, it is unlikely that you will be able to do this as soon as you arrive in the UK, as you will likely need some credit history to actually be eligible for a credit card, so it might be worth waiting a few months until you’re settled and have been regularly following some of the previous steps. If you would like to find out how to get a credit card, you can read our recent article on the matter. In order to get a good credit card with a low interest rate, you will need a good credit rating…so unfortunately, your first credit card will likely have a high interest rate, it’s estimated that 34.9% is the most common interest rate for these types of cards. It is advisable that prior to applying for a credit card, you check which cards you will be eligible for. You can use Money Saving Expert’s calculator to check your eligibility without negatively impacting your credit score. Once you have acquired a credit card, it is incredibly important to ensure that you use it responsibly and make your repayments on time each month so that you don’t need to pay interest. The best way to make use of it to build your credit is to use it for payments you were already going to make and have the money set aside for, such as rent or bills. It is also highly recommended that you do not withdraw any cash on your credit card as it can be seen by lenders as poor money management. In addition, the interest is higher, and you will be charged for doing this, even if you repay this in full. In doing this, you will be able to demonstrate that you can be trusted to make credit repayments. Try to only use a small amount of your credit limit, the average you’re recommended to use is about 25%-30%. For example, if your credit limit is £500, try not to spend more than £125. If, for any reason, you are struggling to repay your credit card on time, make sure that you contact your lender and ask if you can change your repayment schedule, it may have a negative impact on your credit score, but not as much as missing payments or continuing to pay late will. If you find that later down the line, you are not using a credit card, it is also important to cancel it, as if you have access to too much credit, even if you are not using it, can reflect badly on you when you apply for other forms of credit.   Check your Credit Report for Errors It is important to regularly check your credit report for errors. If you find any incorrect information, ensure that a notice of correction is added to your file. To check your credit report, you will need to order a copy of your credit file online, you will usually be charged a small fee from this, and you can order your file from the following agencies: Experian, Equifax and TransUnion.   Don’t Submit Credit Applications Too Frequently It is important not to apply for too much credit in a short space of time, as this can have a negative impact on your credit rating. Where possible, try to space out any applications you make so that it doesn’t appear you are bad at handling money and need to rely on credit.   Don’t get a Pay Day Loan The Money Saving Expert website warns against applying for pay day loans, reportedly, these companies claim that this can be a good way to build credit, however, there interest rates are generally ridiculously high, and can end up getting you into debt, rather than improving your credit score.   Register to Vote Admittedly, this one won’t be very helpful to you when you first arrive, as you will need to obtain British Citizenship in order to have the right to vote. However, if you have been in the country for five years you may be eligible to apply for British Citizenship which allows you the right to vote and apply for a British passport. If you are looking to improve your credit score and you have British Citizenship, this can be a great way to give your rating a boost, as it is one way that lenders can confirm your identity and address.   What can Lenders Find Out about me? You might be wondering what information lenders will be able to obtain about you, and why. We will list what lenders will be able to see below, it is important to note that the reason they can learn this information about you is so that they can ensure you are a reliable person to lend money to.   What Information is Included in my Credit Score? Your name Your address and postcode Your date of birth Past credit applications Credit repayment history, including late or missed payments Any existing debt you have If you are on the electoral role If you have any joint credit cards or loans If you have been declared bankrupt or have an IVA Any county court judgements (CCJ’s) Current account turnover   What Information is Not Included in my Credit Score? Student loans Medical history Council tax arrears Criminal record Parking or driving fines   It can seem daunting and even frustrating to have to completely rebuild your credit score once you arrive in the UK, particularly if you are hoping to secure a mortgage to buy a house later down the line. While it can be discouraging, take your time and follow these tips and gradually, you will be able to build up a good credit score, which is sure to benefit you in the long run. If you would like further advise on managing your credit or other financial matters, we would advise that you speak to a professional.   Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who would like to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to relocate to the UK. Are you a member of our Facebook group? When you join IMG Advisor, you join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs to the group every day. We will also be on hand to answer all of your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos covering everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS. Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with IMG Advisor the Podcast. You can listen to us on Apple Podcasts, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have a number of episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.   References Lewis, M. (2018). Credit Scores. [Online]. MoneySavingExpert.com. Available at: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/loans/credit-rating-credit-score/ [Accessed 30 Jan. 2020.]. Saxon.H. (2018). Build Your Credit History. [Online]. MoneySavingExpert.com. Available at: https://www.moneysavingexpert.com/loans/build-credit-history/ [Accessed 30 Jan. 2020.]. Moneyadviceservice.org.uk. (2020). How to get credit for the first time. [Online]. Available at: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/getting-credit-for-the-first-time [Accessed 30 Jan. 2020.]. http://www.facebook.com/katsgoneglobal (2019). How to Build a Credit Score as a New UK Resident. [Online] Kats Gone Global. Available at: https://katsgoneglobal.com/credit-score-new-uk-resident/ [Accessed 30 Jan. 2020.].  

A Guide to: The British Countryside

By Gabrielle Richardson
January 30, 2020

A Guide to: The British Countryside The countryside holds a special place within English life and culture. Although most Brits work in the city, the countryside remains for most people in Britain an idyllic place and a place where one can both live and relax in their free time. For most people, the British countryside provides endless access to historic sites, memorials, monuments, protected areas, pretty villages and pub gardens. In this blog post, we share the five reasons to visit the British countryside when you relocate to the UK and join the NHS. Spectacular Views When you first visit the British countryside, you will find the views “charming, quaint, lovely and picturesque”. When you first visit the English countryside, you will be overwhelmed with plenty of greenery, country inns, moss-covered walls, hedged roads and rolling hills. Historical The British countryside represents natural beauty; however, a fun fact is that it is artificial and uniquely designed via landscaping over hundreds of years by the British people, who hold a 1000-long-year obsession with gardening. You can travel to the countryside by train The United Kingdom’s rail system is one of Britain’s greatest features, with over 20,000 passenger services per day. Most UK getaways are easily accessible by train and explorable by foot once you arrive and often it is a journey of no more than a couple of hours from the nearest airport. Trains are a great way to travel because you can purchase advance tickets for a cheaper price or last minute if your plans suddenly free up and you find yourself wanting to explore. On British trains, you can bring your own food and drinks, you can spread out and travel with comfort, set out your laptop and catch up on some life admin or even play some card games – and of course, enjoying the beautiful countryside out of the window! You should note that some places in the countryside do require a car to get to. However, you could always travel by train, bus and then get a taxi if need be to the specific location that you are visiting. Range of activities The fantastic thing about the NHS countryside is that is the range of fun activities you can do! Whether you have a passion for hiking, playing golf, surfing in Wales, touring a winery, visiting an auto-museum or rock-climbing – there is something for absolutely everyone. Pub Lunch After you have completed a 10-mile hike or bike ride, a hearty Sunday Roast or a classic British dish: beef burgers with mature cheddar cheese and crisp chips, homemade Cumberland sausage with onion gravy and mashed potatoes or roasted pork with spiced apple sauce; you will be spoilt for choice. If you are a vegetarian, the UK has plenty of fantastic veggie-friendly options from grilled halloumi to roasted butternut squash. Fun Facts about the British Countryside There are 10 National Parks in England: Dartmoor, Exmoor, New Forest, South Downs, The Broads, Peak District, Yorkshire Dales, North York Moors, Lake District and Northumberland. Wales and Scotland have just 5 National Parks between them: Brecon Beacons, Snowdonia and Pembrokeshire Coast in Wales and the Cairngorms and Loch Lomond and the Trossachs in Scotland. The 15 National Parks have two purposes – conserving and enhancing their natural and cultural heritage and promoting the understanding and enjoyment of the qualities of the parks to the public Britain has few endemic (native) species, due to the closeness to mainland Europe. Britain’s only poisonous snake is the adder The number of magpies in Britain and Ireland has quadrupled in the last 30 years Yorkshire is the most Instagrammed location in Britain, followed by the Scottish Highlands and the Shetland Islands Walking is Britain’s most popular outdoor recreation, with almost a third of the adult population walking at least two miles a month Nowhere in the UK is more than 70 miles from the coast   Relocation to the UK If you are interested in relocating to the UK’s countryside or a major city, email your CV to us at [email protected] and we can help you secure the most perfect NHS post. Are you a member of our Facebook Group? When you join IMG Advisor, you will join a community of doctors all looking to relocate to the UK and join the NHS. We post a series of blogs and vlogs into the group every single day. We will also always be on hand to answer all your relocation queries. Subscribe to our YouTube channel! We have over 60 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References Furfeatherandfin.com. (2020). Facts About the British Countryside and Coast | Fur Feather and Fin. [online] Available at: https://www.furfeatherandfin.com/blog/facts-about-british-countryside-coast/ [Accessed 28 Jan. 2020]. BuzzFeed. (2020). 9 Reasons Why You Need To Visit The British Countryside. [online] Available at: https://www.buzzfeed.com/visitbritain/reasons-why-you-need-to-visit-the-british-countryside [Accessed 28 Jan. 2020].      

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