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How to get a credit card if you are new to the UK

By Gabrielle Richardson
January 24, 2020

When you first move to the UK, it will be hard to get a credit card, a financed car, get a mortgage or get a bank loan. This is due to the lack of a credit history you have in the UK. Unfortunately, you cannot transfer your credit rating from your home country to the UK. So, you will essentially be starting again. Without a present credit history, lenders won’t have any information on you to determine whether you can manage credit responsibly and may therefore class you as high risk, making them reluctant to lend to you. In this blog post, we share how to build up some positive credit history in the UK to help you with your short-term goals such as obtaining a credit card or long-term goals... buying a house! Please note, we are not financial advisors and this blog post is simply a guide. Please consult a professional for further information. What is included in my credit score? Name, address and date of birth Past credit applications Credit repayment history, including late or missed payments Your existing debt Your electoral register presence 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 is not included in my credit score? Student loans Medical history Council tax arrears Criminal record Parking or driving fines Step 1: Employment Most lenders require evidence of proof of a regular income. So, being employed by the NHS you will be able to evidence a consistent income. Step 2: Get a UK address Most lenders will not give you credit without proof of a UK address. So, the first step is to secure a permanent residence. Please note, when you go to open a UK high street bank account you will need to show proof of address. If you are yet to secure permanent accommodation, you can evidence your Air B n B’s address. Step 3: Open a UK Bank Account Although this is not essential to apply for credit, it is advisable that you open a bank account in the UK as it will make you more attractive to lenders. Having a UK bank account means that you can pay bills by direct debit, receive your salary and transfer money abroad. If you would like our advice on how to open a bank account in the UK, please do read our blog post here. Step 4: Create some Positive History in the UK If you can show that you manage credit responsibly, you are more likely to get better interest rates in the future. You have a number of options available to you when you first arrive: Open a high interest credit card – Make sure that you spend little each month, pay back in full and stay within your credit limit otherwise it will have a negative effect on your credit rating. Example high interest cards, please check with each provider as rates regularly change. The Aqua Card – Typical 35.9% APR variable and up to 51 days interest free credit on purchases if you pay off your balance in full and on time each month The Capital One Classic: Typical 34.9% APR variable The Barclaycard Initial: Typical 27.9% APR variable Put bills in your name (where possible) and pay them by direct debit Open a couple of store cards as they are usually easier to get than standard rate credit cards but always pay them off in full every month and you got another way to show you can handle your finances responsibly. Step 5: Time your applications wisely Applying for lots of credit in a short space of time and being rejected is not good for your credit rating. You can try leaving between three and six months between applications to hep repair your credit rating, however, the process will take longer. One example is a mobile phone contract, car insurance, car finance and a credit card can count towards this. Step 6: Curb your card spending When you do get issued a credit card, you should try to minimise any debt on your cards. As a rule of thumb, you should try to keep the debt on a card under 30% of your credit card limit. 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 journey to the UK today. 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 Focus, E. (2020). Moving or Moved to the UK? A Guide to Credit and Financial Freedom | Expat Focus. [online] Expatfocus.com. Available at: https://www.expatfocus.com/guide-to-credit-and-financial-freedom-in-the-uk [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020].  

Tips for Saving Money on your Energy Bill

By Samantha Joubert
January 22, 2020

As it’s Big Energy Saving Week, we wanted to share some tips on ways that you can reduce your energy bill, and more importantly, do your bit to save the planet. According to BP’s Statistical Review of World Energy, in 2018, “energy consumption growth was driven by natural gas, which contributed to more than 40% of the increase.” As such, any change we can make to reduce our energy consumption can only be beneficial.   How can I use less water?   Spend One Minute Less in the Shower Energy Saving Trust.org reports that if every person in a family of four spent one minute less in the shower each day, they could save an impressive £75 a year on energy bills! So, if someone in your family takes long showers, imagine how much money could be saved if they cut five minutes off their shower time!   Use a Washing up Bowl Instead of running water continuously to wash your dishes, fill a washing up bowl with water and wash your dishes in the bowl. This may seem like you’re using more water, but you’d be surprised how much water is wasted just by leaving the tap running whilst washing your dishes!   Turn the Tap off! It can be easy to forget, but try to turn the tap off whilst you’re brushing your teeth, shaving or washing your face, and you could save 6 litres of water every minute by making this small change to your morning and evening routines!   Use your Washing Machine for one less Cycle Try to reduce the amount of times you use your washing machine a week, by doing even one less cycle, you can make a surprising difference to your energy bill.   Only Fill the Kettle with the Water you Need Instead of filling the kettle up to the maximum level each time you use it, only fill it up with as much water as you need at a given time.   Replace your Shower Head Change your shower head to a water efficient one, and you could save yourself £70 a year on gas and a whopping £115 a year on your water bill, not only will this make a huge difference in saving the planet, but you could put that money towards something else.   Monitor your Taps! Energy Saving Trust.org has reported that dripping taps can waste more than 5,300 litres of water a year! As such, make sure that your taps are properly turned off, and its recommended that you regularly change the washers on your taps if you notice that they’re beginning to drip.   How can I use Less Electricity?   Use Energy Efficient Bulbs Where possible, try to replace standard lightbulbs with energy efficient LED bulbs. This change could save you £35 on your yearly energy bill.   Buy Energy Efficient Appliances In the UK, many appliances come with energy grades, with A+++ being the best for the environment and your energy bill, and G being the worst. When it’s time to replace your current fridge, dishwasher or washing machine, or if you’re just relocating to the UK and looking to buy new appliances for your home, try to buy products that have an energy rating of A+++ if possible, to save yourself the most money on your electricity bill.   Switch Off Try to remember to switch lights off if you’re not using them, as well as other electrical appliances such as TVs, computers, and even chargers. By switching lights off when you’re not using them, you could save £14 a year on energy bills. Also, if you have an appliance in standby mode, make sure to switch it off, this could save you £30 a year. This might not seem like a lot, but these small changes combined with others on this list can add up at the end of the year!   Wash Clothing on a Lower Temperature Where possible, try to wash your clothes on a lower temperature, such as washing on 30 degrees instead of 40 degrees. Many newer washing machines now have ECO cycles and energy saving settings that you can utilise as well.   How can I use Less Gas?   Set a Timer If your central heating system allows you to set the time that the heating comes on, utilise this so that it only heats the house when you’re home and doesn’t waste energy by warming the house when no one will be home to benefit from this.   Turn Your Thermostat Down If possible, try to turn your thermostat down by one degree, this small change can save you an impressive 10% on your energy bill at the end of the month!   Close Blinds and Curtains in the Evening This is likely something you do anyway, but did you know that by closing blinds and curtains around your house in the evening, it prevents heat from escaping out of the house through the windows?   Seal any Cracks in Windows, Doors and Skirting Boards Following on from the previous tip, you can save £20 a year on your energy bill by sealing up any cracks or draughts in windows, doors and skirting boards and you can prevent heat from escaping your home.   Get Double Glazing and Insulate your Home Double glazed windows provide less room for heat to escape from your house than single glazed windows do, and can save you £110 a year on energy bills. If possible, also try to get your roof and loft insulated, again, whilst this can be costly initially, by doing this, less heat will escape from your home, and you can save yourself up to £135 a year by doing this, so it is actually beneficial in the long run.   Install a Smart Thermostat Smart thermostats can save you money as they will only heat the rooms you are spending time in, and they can learn how long it takes to heat your home so that your property is heated efficiently. Having a smart thermostat installed can save you £75 a year!   Monitor Your Usage Our final recommendation is to monitor your energy consumption. An easy way to track your usage is to have a smart meter installed in your home, this way, you can easily see where your energy consumption is highest, and make plans to reduce this.   How Much Could I Save a Year? The amount you could save on your energy bills a year will vary vastly depending on how many of these tips you decide to follow, how many people are in your family, the size of your home and the kind of energy saving techniques you may already have in place, so we cannot give you a definitive answer. However, we will strive to give you a very rough estimate based on a family of four. Energy Saving  Money Saved Using a washing up bowl £12 Reduce washing machine use by 1 cycle £12 Only fill kettle when needed £12 Spend 1 minute less in the shower a day £75 Replacing your shower head with an energy efficient one £185 Switch to energy efficient lightbulbs £35 Switch off lights when you're not using them £14 Switch off appliances in standy £30 Seal up draughts in doors, windows and skirting boards £20 Get double glazing put in £110 Insulate your roof and attic £135 Have a smart thermostat installed £75 Total Saved: £715 As you can see, if you make some small changes to your daily habits, and some changes to your home, you can save a great deal of money each year, money that could be put towards a holiday for your family, or something you’ll all enjoy, with the added benefit of doing your part to save the environment.   Relocating to the UK If you’re an international doctor hoping to relocate to the UK and join the NHS, email your CV to [email protected] and we would be happy to help you on your relocation journey. 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 on 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 find us on Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Spotify and Buzzsprout. We have several episodes with tips and advice on relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this. Keep your eyes peeled for the second season of our podcast, coming soon!   References Bp.com. (2020). [online] Available at: https://www.bp.com/content/dam/bp/business-sites/en/global/corporate/pdfs/energy-economics/statistical-review/bp-stats-review-2019-full-report.pdf [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020]. Energy Saving Trust. (2020). Big Energy Saving Week 2020. [online] Available at: https://energysavingtrust.org.uk/big-energy-saving-week-2020 [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020]. Moneysupermarket.com. (2020). Energy Saving Tips | How To Reduce Bills | MoneySuperMarket. [online] Available at: https://www.moneysupermarket.com/gas-and-electricity/energy-saving-tips/ [Accessed 22 Jan. 2020].  

Ofsted: UK School Inspection Report

By Gabrielle Richardson
January 17, 2020

Ofsted stands for the Office for Standards in Education, Children’s Services and Skills. It is an independent body that reports directly to Parliament. Ofsted inspects services in the UK that provide education and skills for learners of all ages. Each week, Ofsted carry out hundreds of inspections and regulatory visits throughout England publish the results online. The body has around 1,800 employees across 8 regions: East Midlands East of England North East, Yorkshire and Humber North West South East South West West Midlands London Ofsted is responsible for: The inspection and regulation of educational institutions including independent schools, state schools, academies and childcare facilities The inspection of agencies responsible for adoption, fostering and other social care services The inspection of other services for children and young people Carry out research on education and social care Reporting on the above institutions and relaying the information to the government What is an Ofsted rating and why is it important to me? When you are researching into the school that you want your child to attend, it is essential to look at the school’s Ofsted rating as it will give an indication into its quality of teaching and pupils’ achievements. There are four Ofsted ratings: Grade 1: Outstanding An outstanding school provides exceptionally well for the needs of its pupils and prepares them for the next stage of their education or employment at the highest possible level.  Grade 2: Good A good school provides well for the needs of its pupils and prepares them effectively for the next stage of their education or employment. Grade 3: Requires Improvement A school that requires improvement is not inadequate, but neither is it satisfactory. Grade 4: Inadequate An inadequate school has significant weaknesses and is failing to prepare its students effectively for the next stages of their lives. The management and leadership, however, are judged to be Grade 3 and above. To search for a school’s Ofsted report, click here. When you are reading a school’s report, look out for their scores in: Leadership and management Behaviour and safety of pupils Quality of teaching Achievement of pupils Summary Final judgements Please note if you are relocating to Wales, the school inspection body is called Estyn - https://www.estyn.gov.wales/ If you are relocating to Scotland, you can search their reports here - https://www.mygov.scot/school-inspection-reports/ Northern Ireland can be found here - https://www.etini.gov.uk/ Childcare If you are a doctor that has children younger than school age, please have a read of our blog post on the childcare options available in the UK. 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 journey to the UK today. 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 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References Engage Education. (2020). What is OFSTED? | Educational Standards - Engage Education. [online] Available at: https://engage-education.com/blog/video-article/ [Accessed 14 Jan. 2020].

How to open a UK Bank Account

By Gabrielle Richardson
January 09, 2020

Having a local bank account is essential for life in the UK; your NHS salary will be paid directly into it, you will need it to obtain a mobile contract, set up household bills and a debit card to pay for every day life. In this blog post, we discuss the documents you will need, fees and charges involved, how to choose which high street bank to bank with and credit cards. It is important to note that there is no legal barrier to opening a UK bank account as an international doctor, but each bank does have its own products which come with different rates, terms and conditions. So, you should always read the fine print before you agree to open an account with them. Documents needed To open a bank in the UK, you will need to evidence your identity, address, salary and your biometric residence permit (BRP). This allows banks to maintain their security and ensure accounts are not used for illegal activity. 1. Proof of Identification To evidence your identity, you will need to show a current photo ID. Typically, doctors use a valid passport to do so. Other documents are accepted such as your driving licence or your BRP. 2. Proof of Address Each high street bank has their own list of documents that they will accept for your proof of address. So, you will need to double check exactly what your chosen bank requires before you visit the branch to open up your account. Typically, doctors use an Air B n B address or hospital accommodation. 3. Salary As you will not have an available credit history, the bank may ask you to provide evidence of your yearly salary. You can obtain this evidence from your hospital’s HR department. Try and obtain this letter before you attend your appointment at the bank. 4. BRP Evidencing your BRP is needed to confirm your right to reside in the UK. Doctors typically receive their BRP 3-7 days after arriving. All documents must usually be original, issued within the last three months and show your full name and UK address. The Application Process The process can differ slightly depending on the bank. We advise that you call the branch in ahead of attending in person and confirm the documents that you need to open up an account. The typical steps are: Collect all of the required documentation Complete the banks application form Book an appointment at a local branch of your choice Attend your appointment to show your original documents Make a deposit It can take a few days for your bank card and security number (PIN) to arrive in the post Please note, it can sometimes take a week or two to book an appointment in busy high street branches i.e. in major cities, so, planning ahead is essential. How much does it cost? Opening up a UK bank account is typically free; however, you may be required to have a certain amount paid into your account each month. With regards to ATM fees, typically high street cash machines are free to use if you have a UK-issued debit card. However, ATM machines you find in airports, train stations or pubs may charge a fee for cash withdrawals, usually around £1.50-3 per transaction. The machine will always notify you that there is a charge to use the service so, do check the screen before you enter your card and PIN. How to choose your high street bank Everybody’s banking needs are personal. If you have a healthy balance with lots of savings, you may be interested in the bank that pays the most interest. Or potentially, to aid your relocation you might seek a bank that does not charge for you to use their overdraft facilities. Click here to compare high street banks. Monzo Monzo was established in 2016 and it is a bank that will live on your smartphone and it is completely free to use. The bank allows you to sort your salary when you get paid into spending, saving and bills. You are able to set specific spending budgets for different categories, such as your food shop, entertainment or eating out so, you can track how well you are doing for each month. There are two main advantages to Monzo. The first is that you can withdraw up to £200 per month abroad for free, from £200+ you will be charged 3%. Second, you can open up an account by simply uploading your passport and a video of yourself to the app. Applications are usually accepted in 1-2 days. For further information, please click here. How I open a UK bank account from overseas? Depending on what country you are residing in, you may be able to open up a UK bank account from overseas. Many British banks have a correspondent banking relationship with countries overseas. These accounts are designed for non-residents, so they are the perfect option if you cannot evidence a UK address. Barclays, Lloyds, HSBC and NatWest offer international accounts. However, typically opening an international account from outside the UK can require a large initial deposit and you must commit to pay in a minimum amount of money each month. Some banks will charge you a monthly fee in addition to these requirements. Can I get a UK credit card? As you will be new to the UK, you might have difficulty getting access to credit, even if you did have good credit history in your home country. Credit reference agencies in the UK do not share data with similar agencies overseas, so when you first arrive in the UK, it is essentially like you are “invisible” to lenders and because they do not have any record of what you are like with money, therefore you might find it is harder to take out a credit card and loans. If you have made an application for credit but been refused, it is not sensible to make too many applications. Lots of applications in a short space of time could damage your credit history, even if you have not been successful with your applications. What can I do? If you had good credit in your home country, you could contact your bank manager and ask them to provide you with a reference to your local branch in the UK. You could also consider applying for a “Credit Card Builder”, a credit card available for those building their credit. You should note that these cards often have higher interest rates, with the average interest rate 30% (January 2020). Click here to compare cards. 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 journey to the UK today. 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 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References The Telegraph. (2020). Tips for opening a UK bank account. [online] Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/money/transferwise/how-to-open-a-bank-account-in-uk/ [Accessed 6 Jan. 2020]. Vanquis.co.uk. (2020). Getting a Credit Card as a New UK Resident - Vanquis. [online] Available at: https://www.vanquis.co.uk/understanding-credit/financial-problems/overseas-uk-credit-rating [Accessed 6 Jan. 2020].

Renting a Property in the UK

By Samantha Joubert
January 02, 2020

Once you have found a property to rent in the UK, you may be wondering what your responsibilities as a tenant are, and what your landlord’s responsibilities will be. In this article, we will be explaining what will be expected of you, what you can expect of your landlord, what to do at the end of your tenancy, and who you should contact if any issues arise during your tenancy.   Before Moving In Documents Prior to moving into the property, there are several documents that your landlord must provide you with. We covered which documents your landlord will need from you in a previous article. Firstly, and most importantly, you should make sure that you receive a written tenancy agreement from your landlord. This should specify the length of your tenancy, what changes you can and can’t make to the property, and the notice period required should you wish to end the tenancy early. Before you sign this agreement, ensure that you have read and understood the terms. If you are uncertain about anything in your tenancy agreement, seek advice from Shelter before you agree to sign. We would also recommend that you ensure your tenancy agreement includes a break clause. A break clause allows you to give your landlord notice if you wish to leave the property before the end of your tenancy without incurring any fees for breaking the terms of your contract. It will usually mean that if you wish to leave, you will need to provide your landlord with a set notice period in writing, and will ensure that when your notice ends, your tenancy will end, your right to live in the property will end and you will not be liable for ongoing rent. A break clause will also generally state a given period of time that must pass before you are able to make use of this clause, for example, it may state that you can offer a month’s notice after you are six months into your contract. If you would like to learn more about break clauses, you can read about them on the Shelter website. You and your landlord should agree to a check-in report or inventory before you move into the property. An inventory will outline any furniture, appliances or belongings that the landlord is leaving in the property for the use of tenants, and if damaged at the end of your tenancy, your landlord may keep part, or all your deposit as compensation for any damage to these items. It is advisable to take photographs of any belongings left in the property by your landlord, prior to you moving in, just in case there is any dispute about the condition of these objects at the end of your tenancy.  Once you move in, take meter readings at your earliest convenience, this is to ensure that you don’t end up paying for any of the previous tenant’s bills. Finally, ensure that your landlord follows a code of practice. A code of practice ensures that a property is of a good quality and high standard. You can read about the code in detail here.   Documents your Landlord Should Provide you with There are several documents your landlord should provide you with either before you move in, or within the first month or so of you residing in the property. Contact Details Perhaps most importantly, your landlord or letting agency should provide you with contact details should you need to contact them in an emergency or about any issues that may arise with the property. Legally, you can be made aware of your landlord’s name and address.   Renting Checklist As mentioned in our previous article about renting, your landlord should provide you with a copy of the renting checklist. This checklist is a document outlining what you should be aware of throughout the renting process and should help you to remain aware of your rights and responsibilities, as well as the rights and responsibilities of your landlord.   Gas Safety Certificate Gas safety certificates confirm that any appliances fueled by gas within the property have been checked and are safe for your use. You should receive a copy of this when you first move into the property. Checks should be completed annually, something your landlord will be responsible for arranging, and you should also receive a certificate within 28 days of each gas safety check.   Deposit Paperwork If your landlord or agency has requested a deposit, it is the responsibility of your landlord to protect it in a government approved scheme within 30 days of receiving the deposit, and they should inform you of any information regarding this. It is also important for you to understand how you will get your deposit back at the end of your tenancy, so be sure to discuss this with your landlord or agency when you first pay your deposit.   Energy Performance Certificate The energy performance certificate determines the cost of energy bills for a property, unless the property is multiple occupancy, where common areas such as the kitchen and living room are shared by multiple tenants. Properties rented after April 1st, 2018 must have an energy performance rating of E.   Electrical Inspection Records Electrical appliances provided by the landlord in a property should be checked every five years, and so you should receive a record of the most recent inspection to ensure that all electrical appliances within the property are safe.   Evidence that Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms are Working Your landlord should also provide evidence that any smoke detectors or carbon monoxide alarms are in working order before you move in. All properties should contain a smoke detector on each floor of the property, so if this is missing, you should request that your landlord install them. If the property you intend to move into has a woodburning stove or fireplace, then it should have a carbon monoxide alarm in addition to the previously mentioned smoke detectors.   Responsibilities During your tenancy, both landlords and tenants have certain responsibilities. We will go into detail about these, but to give you a brief idea, landlords have a responsibility to ensure that their property is safe and habitable for tenants, and tenants have a responsibility to respect and maintain the property.   Tenant Responsibilities   Pay your Rent on Time Your main responsibility as a tenant will be to pay your rent on time. Generally, tenants will pay rent monthly, but in certain circumstances, it is possible to pay an annual fee instead.  If you fail to pay your rent within 14 days, you may have to pay a default fee. It’s also likely that if you continually fail to pay your rent, your landlord will evict you for breaking your tenancy agreement.   Pay your Bills As well as your rent, it will also be your responsibility to pay your council tax, gas, electricity and water bills, unless your tenancy agreement states that these bills are included in your rental agreement.   Maintain the Property It is important to ensure that you maintain the cleanliness and condition of the property where you can. Whilst the landlord will be responsible for larger issues, you should be considerate of the property, cleaning regularly and completing smaller tasks such as changing lightbulbs. If you wish to redecorate, you should consult with your landlord beforehand to ensure that they are happy for you to make changes, or to discuss what changes you can or can’t make. If any appliances provided by the landlord break, or if any plumbing, electrical or structural issues arise, make sure to contact your landlord immediately so that they can resolve these issues promptly. Whilst it is the landlord’s duty to ensure that any issues are resolved, you will be equally responsible for reporting any problems. It is also advisable to take out contents insurance, as even if your landlord has insurance, it likely won’t cover your personal possessions, only the possessions provided by the landlord.   Be Considerate of Neighbours If you will be living in a property where you will have neighbours, it is important to be respectful of your neighbours by ensuring that you are not disruptive (e.g. playing loud music late at night) or anti-social (harassing or threatening your neighbours). If your landlord receives reports that you have exhibited disruptive or anti-social behavior, it is possible that they may take actions to evict you.   Subletting Subletting is when a tenant rents the property, or a room in the property, out to someone else. Generally, this practice is illegal as the landlord is often not made aware that their property is being let out by the tenants. If you do wish to sublet the property you are living in, make sure to seek permission from your landlord, and if they refuse, do not proceed with plans to sublet.   Be Aware of the Property When you first move into the property, ensure that you are aware of how to operate the boiler and any appliances provided to you by the landlord. It will also be your responsibility to ask where the stopcock, fuse box and meters are.   Test the Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms Whilst it is the landlord’s responsibility to ensure that smoke detectors and carbon monoxide alarms are installed and that they are functioning when you initially move in, it will be your responsibility as the tenant to test these detectors on a monthly basis. If you find any issues with one of the detectors, you should report it to your landlord immediately.   Landlord Responsibilities   Maintain the Exterior, Structure and Safety of the Property The landlord is responsible for ensuring that the property you are living in is structurally sound, and safe for habitation. If you have any concerns or find any issues with the property, always contact your landlord.   Fit Smoke Detectors and Carbon Monoxide Alarms As previously mentioned, smoke detectors should be installed on each floor of a property, and if there is a wood or coal burning oven or fireplace available in the property, a carbon monoxide alarm should also be installed. If either of these is missing, you should request your landlord to have them put into the property.   Water, Electricity and Gas Issues If any issues arise with the water, electricity or gas supplies, you should report this to your landlord, and it will be their duty to send someone to the property to fix this.   Gas Safety Check As mentioned in the documents section of this article, your landlord should arrange for an annual gas safety check to be carried out and inform you of this, as it is likely that you will either need to be home to let someone in to carry out these checks, or the landlord themselves will need to be present during the check if you aren’t available.   Maintain Furniture and Appliances and Provide Repairs If your landlord has supplied you with any appliances or furniture, it will be their responsibility to maintain these items and ensure that they are functioning correctly. If one of these appliances breaks or malfunctions, ensure that you notify your landlord so that they can have it repaired or replaced. As well as the appliances and furniture supplied by the landlord, if any issues arise with the property itself, it is generally the landlord’s responsibility to have these issues repaired, unless otherwise specified in your tenancy agreement.   24 Hours’ Notice for Visits If, for any reason, the landlord needs to come to the property for repairs or any kind of visit, they are legally required to give you at least 24 hours’ notice prior to this. Even though the landlord owns the property, they aren’t allowed to enter the property without giving you the specified amount of notice.   Maintain Energy Efficiency As previously stated, your landlord will need to provide you with documentation outlining the energy efficiency of the property. The landlord will need to ensure that the minimum energy efficiency is in band E, unless the property is exempt from this.   Insuring the Property The landlord’s final responsibility is to insure the property to cover the costs of any damage caused by fire or flood.    Ending your Tenancy At the end of your tenancy, you’ll usually either wish to extend your tenancy, or leave the property. In both situations, there are steps that both you and your landlord will need to complete.   Extending your Tenancy If you decide you’d like to remain in the property, and your landlord is happy for you to do so, you will either need to sign a new fixed term contract, the way you did initially, or you could opt for a rolling tenancy. A rolling tenancy allows you to continue living in the property but with no fixed term date. In this situation, your tenancy agreement with the landlord should state how much notice you will need to provide the landlord with should you wish to leave, the notice period will generally be one month. It is also possible that if you extend your tenancy, your landlord may wish to increase the cost of rent, which they are entitled to do before you sign a new tenancy agreement, but they must inform you of this change and include it in the new agreement before you sign it.   If you Want to End your Tenancy If your landlord wishes to end your tenancy, they are legally required to give you proper notice, at least two months usually, and must have allowed any fixed term period of the tenancy to have expired. If you decide you want to end your tenancy early, you may be charged for this as you will be breaking your contract. It should stipulate in your tenancy agreement how much notice you need to provide your landlord with in this situation, but it is generally one month. The property will be inspected once yourself and your landlord have decided that you wish to end the tenancy agreement, this inspection will determine if any of your deposit will be deducted due to damages to the property. The gov.uk website recommends that you be present for this inspection. If you disagree with the outcome of an inspection, you can contact the relevant deposit protection scheme to appeal. Here are a few of the deposit protection schemes in place: Deposit Protection Service MyDeposits Tenancy Deposit Scheme You should also ensure that all your rent and bill payments are up to date prior to leaving, if they are left unpaid, it could have a negative impact on your credit rating and if you wish to obtain a reference from your landlord. During the process of vacating the property, make sure that you clean the property thoroughly, as well as removing all of your possessions, even if there are items you don’t intend to take to your new home with you, remove and dispose of any wanted belongings. If you leave any of your personal belongings in the property, the landlord is entitled to dispose of them after 14 days, though they must inform you that they intend to do this. Finally, ensure that you take meter readings, return any keys to the landlord, and provide your landlord with a forwarding address should they need to contact you or forward any post on to you after you have vacated the property.   Issues During or After your Tenancy Major issues can usually be avoided if you do your research whilst searching for a property to rent and before signing a tenancy agreement, however sometimes problems can arise during your tenancy that are beyond your control, and it is useful to know who to contact in those situations. It should be noted that if possible, it is always best to discuss any problems with your landlord or letting agency first, as often they can find a quick resolution to any worries or issues you may have.   Letting Agencies If you have any complaints about the letting agency you are dealing with, and the letting agency itself can’t resolve this for you, it is possible to make a complaint to the Independent Redress Scheme, and they should be able to better advise you.   Landlords If you find that you are having difficulties with your landlord that can’t be resolved by discussing the issue directly with them, you should report the issue to your local authority, you can find yours here. Examples of difficulties with your landlord are: Your landlord refusing to repair the property when the conditions are unsafe. If your landlord attempts to evict you without valid reason or without providing written notice as stipulated in your tenancy agreement. If your landlord unfairly retains your deposit at the end of your tenancy. If your landlord makes unannounced visits or harasses you (if you feel threatened or unsafe, it is recommended that you call 999).     Financial Difficulties Sometimes, circumstances beyond your control may prevent you from being able to afford the cost of your rent. It is vital to speak to your landlord as soon as possible in this situation, as they are likely to be more understanding if you are honest with them from the outset and may be able to offer you some help and advice. If the issue is potentially going to be a long term problem, it is wise to contact Citizens Advice or Shelter for further advice.   Relocation to the UK If you are 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 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 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 Rla.org.uk. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.rla.org.uk/documents/download.shtml?pid=3414&v=3cf1a0fb170ac7ad4569f80fba7bfe39 [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019]. GOV.UK. (2019). How to rent: the checklist for renting in England. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent/how-to-rent-the-checklist-for-renting-in-england [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019]. England, S., advice, H. and renting, P. (2019). How to end a fixed term tenancy early. [online] Shelter England. Available at: https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting/how_tenants_can_end_a_fixed_term_tenancy [Accessed 30 Dec. 2019].

Things you need to Know Before you Rent a Property in the UK

By Samantha Joubert
December 17, 2019

When you are preparing to rent a property in the UK on an assured shorthold tenancy, your landlord must provide you with something called The Checklist for Renting in England. In this article, we will run through some of the key points included in the Checklist relating to the things you should be aware of before you rent a property, and during the process of viewing properties to help ensure that you find a safe and legal place to live.   What is an Assured Shorthold Tenancy? An assured shorthold tenancy (AST) is the most common type of tenancy England. Your tenancy will be an AST if: You will be renting privately If your tenancy started on or after January 15th 1989 The property you intend to rent will be your main accommodation The landlord doesn’t live in the property   Your tenancy won’t be AST if: The tenancy agreement started before January 15th 1989 The cost of rent will be more than £100,000 a year The cost of rent will be less than £250 a year (or less than £1,000 in London) The tenancy is a business tenancy or tenancy of a licensed premises Your landlord will be a local council The property is a holiday let   Are you being Asked to Pay a Fee? As of June 1st 2019, it is illegal for landlords or letting agencies to charge a fee for their services, so if you show interest in a property and the landlord or agency are requesting a fee other than the deposit, they are breaking the law, and you should not do business with them. How long do you want to Rent the Property for? Depending on how long you plan to live in an area and in a particular property means that you are able to negotiate the length of your tenancy with the landlord, anywhere between 6 months and 7 years. Obviously, if you are hoping to buy a home within a few years of relocating to the UK, it is probably worth negotiating a tenancy plan that only spans 6 months to 1 year to begin with. If you decide that you like the property at the end of your tenancy agreement, you can always negotiate a longer agreement when the initial period of your tenancy is due to expire. How much can you Afford to spend on Rent? The government reports that the majority of people can afford to spend 35% of their take home income at the end of the month on rent, depending on factors such as whether you have other family members to support. This is something you will have to try and calculate before you can decide on a property. You can roughly work out your take home pay on this website. Are you Entitled to Housing Benefit or Universal Credit? This question will be on the checklist, but if you are just relocating to the UK for the first time, you will not yet be entitled to help such as housing benefit or Universal Credit. You may be entitled to these if you have lived in the UK for a length of time and have Indefinite Leave to Remain, but there are still some stipulations to this. Which Area Would you like to Live in? Obviously, you will want to find a property within a reasonable distance of the hospital you will be working for, and within a good distance of local schools if you have children. You may be able to commute, but you should consider how far you are willing to commute before you start looking at properties, that way, you can narrow down your search to find properties within a specific area or distance from your place of work. Do you have the Relevant Documents? You will need certain documents in order to rent a property in the UK. You will need: Proof of identity – Passport or photocard driving license, an official letter dated within the last three months such as a utility bill Proof of your right to live in the UK – A copy of your Tier 2 Visa and any relevant documentation associated Credit history – A tax return for the most recent tax year, pay slips from the previous 3 to 6 months. Bank Account – You will need to have a UK bank account in order to rent a property, in order to open a UK bank account, you will need proof of employment and a BRP, which are explained below. Proof of Employment – You will need a letter from your NHS employer confirming your salary, job title and length of contract, a current employment contract. You will also need this to open a bank account. Biometric Residence Permits – You will also need to provide biometric residence permits for all of your family members. This will also be necessary to open a bank account.   Will you have a Guarantor?  Some landlords will require you to have a guarantor, someone who will be responsible for paying the rent if you don’t pay it for some reason. Landlords prefer for your guarantor to be someone who is living in the UK, preferably a family member, but if this isn’t possible, they may accept someone from overseas, it will depend on the landlord. Are you being charged Fairly for the Deposit? Whenever you rent a property, you will be asked to pay a deposit beforehand. This is to cover any damage that may be caused to the house, or may be used if you, for whatever reason, can’t afford to pay rent one month. The deposit should not be more than five weeks’ worth of rent (where the annual rent is less than £50,000) or six weeks’ worth of rent (where annual rent is more than £50,000). It is also important to check that the landlord will be protecting the deposit in a government protected scheme. Are there Property Restrictions? Some landlords do not allow people to live in their property if they have children, pets, or if they are smokers. If it is not stated on the property ad, it is important to check with the landlord or agency whether they allow children/pets/smokers if any of these circumstances are relevant to you. If you’re hoping to redecorate, whether you’re planning on painting rooms in a property or putting up shelves and photo frames, it’s also worth checking with the landlord beforehand if they are happy for you to make these modifications. Some landlords prefer for tenants not to make changes, as they may only be living there for a short period of time, so it’s important to check first.   Who will be Responsible for Bills and Council Tax? In certain circumstances, the landlord may be willing to pay for bills such as gas, electricity and water, though generally this will be your responsibility, if it’s not specified in the rental ad, it is worth enquiring about this. Is the Property Safe? When viewing a property, it is important to be aware of safety regulations that all landlords should be following. The government website has some more in-depth documents on the checks you should do to ensure that a property is safe, one on how to rent a safe home, and one on fitness for habitation. To give you a brief overview though, you should ensure that there is a working smoke detector on each floor, and if the property has a woodburning stove or fireplace, it’s also very important to check that there is a carbon monoxide detector too. If the property does not contain these, it is possible for the landlord to install them, but you should certainly bring it up.   Is the landlord subletting? If someone is renting a property from someone, and the person renting then attempts to rent it out to someone else, this is called subletting. Subletting can be illegal, so it is important to be certain that if someone is attempting to sublet a property to you, that the owner of the property has given the tenant permission to do this. How do I find a Property to Rent? If you would like to know more about how to find a property to rent, and the pros and cons of renting a property, we have an article giving an overview of the rental process in the UK which you can read here.   Relocation to the UK If you’re an international 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 Byers, C. (2019). The documents needed to rent in the UK. [online] Movebubble.com. Available at: https://www.movebubble.com/london/renting-advice/2015/10/documents-need-rent-house-flat [Accessed 17 Dec. 2019]. Citizensadvice.org.uk. (2019). Check if you can get Housing Benefit. [online] Available at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/benefits/help-if-on-a-low-income/housing-benefit/help-with-your-housing-benefit-claim/check-if-you-can-get-housing-benefit/ [Accessed 17 Dec. 2019]. GOV.UK. (2019). Private renting for tenants: tenancy agreements. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/private-renting-tenancy-agreements/tenancy-types [Accessed 17 Dec. 2019]. Citizensadvice.org.uk. (2019). Using a guarantor. [online] Available at: https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-a-home/using-a-guarantor/ [Accessed 17 Dec. 2019]. Rla.org.uk. (2019). [online] Available at: https://www.rla.org.uk/documents/download.shtml?pid=3414&v=3cf1a0fb170ac7ad4569f80fba7bfe39 [Accessed 17 Dec. 2019]. GOV.UK. (2019). How to rent: the checklist for renting in England. [online] Available at: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent/how-to-rent-the-checklist-for-renting-in-england [Accessed 17 Dec. 2019].  

NHS Service Post v NHS Training Post

By Gabrielle Richardson
December 13, 2019

The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is one of the largest employers in the world and it is the biggest employer in Europe, with over 1.3 million staff. A typical day for the NHS includes: Over 835,000 people visiting their GP practice or practice nurse Almost 50,000 people visiting accident and emergency departments 49,000 outpatient consultations 94,000 people admitted to hospital as an emergency admission 36,000 people in hospital for planned treatment No matter what area of the NHS you join, you will become part of a talented, passionate team of individuals who are committed to providing extraordinary care and treatment to UK patients. With the NHS being such a busy institution and with over 10,000 vacancies at this present time – it is important for the NHS to possesses both Service Doctors and Training Doctors but we often get asked what the difference is… An NHS Service Post An NHS service post (also known as a non-training post) is designed to fill gaps in the department’s rota of training doctors. So, in order to ensure that NHS patients receive continuity of care and excellent quality of care, service posts exist. The job role of a service doctor is essentially the same as a doctor in training, except the post is not recognised by an NHS Deanery and it is not designed to provide official educational support. That being said, some hospitals do provide international doctors with CESR support to help them get onto the Specialist Register (get in contact with us today to find out which hospitals – [email protected]). What is an NHS Deanery? An NHS Deanery is a regional organisation who is responsible for postgraduate medical training, within the NHS. Each NHS Deanery is advised by a Specialty Training Committee (STC), which includes a number of Consultants who provide their expert opinion. The recruitment of doctors into Specialty Training Programmes are managed by Deaneries. Once you have accepted a training post the Deanery will then allocate specific jobs, arrange educational supervision and provide the assessment of whether you have demonstrated sufficient progress within your training. What is an NHS Training Post? If you have secured an NHS training post, your relevant Deanery will provide you with a set curriculum that you will need to follow with regards to updating your e-portfolio, signing off competencies and attending teaching sessions. You will be allocated an Educational and Clinical Supervisor to provide you with support. Within a training post, you will be allocated study leave to allow you to study for your postgraduate qualification exams. As an international doctor – can I apply for a Specialty Training Post? It is important to note that NHS training posts are extremely competitive. So, to successfully obtain an NHS training post we always advise the following: Obtain a service post for a year or two years, acclimatise yourself with the system and then you will be both physically and mentally prepared and eligible to apply for a training post. Good luck! Securing an NHS Service Post If you are an international doctor who has plans to relocate to the UK and join the NHS – email your CV to [email protected] and we will be happy to support you through the entire process. From your GMC Registration, assistance securing a post, relocation logistics to finding schools for your children. Are you a member of IMG Advisor? Here, you will find access to frequent relocation blog posts, the opportunity to receive professional guidance on relocating to the UK and the chance to meet other IMGs! References Jobs.nhs.uk. (2019). NHS Jobs - Working in the NHS. [online] Available at: https://www.jobs.nhs.uk/about_nhs.html [Accessed 24 Apr. 2019]. BMJ.com (2004). The BMJ – What is the difference between a LAT post and a LAS post? [online] Available at: https://www.bmj.com/content/329/7479/s236.1 [Accessed 24 Apr.2019].

How to Get British Citizenship

By Samantha Joubert
December 12, 2019

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].  

A guide to London's Christmas Lights

By Gabrielle Richardson
December 12, 2019

London is full of sparkle at Christmas time and we wanted to share the best spots to get the best views! Whether you want to take a trip to the UK’s capital to visit the endless markets and fairs, go ice skating or visit the amazing shops, you must detour to see the spectacular illuminations lighting up the entire city. Oxford Street Oxford Street is one of the most famous streets in the world for shopping and at Christmas time, it is completely transformed by sparkly, glowing lights. This year the lights look like curtains which are draped down the entire length of the street, making up a total of 222,000 lights. Carnaby Street Carnaby Street is just an 8-minute walk from Oxford Street. This year, Carnaby has collaborated with an Ocean Conservation Project 0 for a sustainable display. You see dazzling underwater scenes with giant clusters of jellyfish and 200 illuminated vampire squid. The most amazing bit? It has all been made by using recycling and reusable materials. Covent Garden Covent Garden is known for its cobbled streets and market buildings. However, at Christmas time you can also find a huge Christmas tree with over 30,000 festive lights, 115 lights sparkling across the Piazza, a reindeer sculpture and some festive benches to rest on in between all the shopping and exploring. Regent Street Regent Street, located just 6-minute walk from Oxford Street is home to world-class flagship stores and award-winning restaurants. Each year, you will see the street receive its festive makeover with garlands of angels down the length of the road. This year, you will also see an array of carol singers, ballet dancers, brass brands and drumming soldiers all confirmed to bring seasonal cheer. To celebrate Regent Street’s 200th anniversary, 200 lucky customers will receive a gift in store from an array of brands. These brands include Karl Lagerfeld, Kiehl’s, L’Occitane, Microsoft, Molton & Brown, UGG and Gaucho. Gift will range from drinking or dining experiences to wellness treatments and gift vouchers. Kew Gardens Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew is a public body sponsored by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs. It is a hub for botanical research and education. If you visit the Garden’s this Christmas, you will see all of the weird and wonderful plants lit up in addition to a mile-long twinkling trail. Eccleston Yards Eccleston Yards is a bold, urban community known for its independent and creative businesses, only minutes away from Victoria Station. This year the Yards have put its own spin on Christmas lights with an installation of 500 individually orbs suspended in space, visualizing a multicoloured solar system. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who would like support in securing an NHS service post, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to the UK today. 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 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References Time Out London. (2019). Christmas lights in London. [online] Available at: https://www.timeout.com/london/things-to-do/christmas-lights-in-london [Accessed 12 Dec. 2019].

10 UK Christmas Traditions

By Gabrielle Richardson
December 02, 2019

Britons celebrate the festive season with a range of rituals and traditions, from decorating Christmas trees to hanging up stockings. To start Advent off, we wanted to share with you the most popular Christmas traditions in the UK.   Christmas Trees Romans used fir trees to decorate their temples during Saturnalia, a feast in honour of Saturn, the god of agriculture and the predecessor to Christmas. Evergreen trees were thought to keep away evil spirits, illness and were put up during the winter solstice, the shortest day of the year, to remind them that the spring would return. Christmas trees made it to the UK in the 1830s and in 1841, Prince Albert set up a tree in Windsor Castle. In 1846, the Royal family was sketched standing around their Christmas tree, after which the practice became very fashionable.   The story behind Santa Claus The story of Father Christmas started with St. Nicholas, a bishop who lived in Myra in the 4th Century. He had a reputation for giving to the poor and being kind to children. Legend has it that St. Nicholas dropped a bag of gold down the chimney of a poor man who could not afford his daughter’s dowry. The bag fell into a stocking that had been left by the fire to dry.   Father Christmas in Red Legend goes that Santa’s suit is red because of a successful advertising campaign for Coca-Cola that featured Father Christmas wearing red robes with a white trim, the soft drink’s colours. However, the red and white actually derive from the colours of St. Nicholas. Over time, the bishops’ red and white robes were replaced by a fur-trimmed suit.   Turkey on Christmas Day Goose, boar and peacock have all been popular Christmas meats over the centuries, but nowadays, Turkey reigns supreme as the traditional Christmas Day meal in the UK. Legend has it that King Henry VIII was the first English monarch to eat Turkey on Christmas Day, popularizing it among the upper classes as the bird was imported from America.   Mince Pies Mince pies were traditionally known as Christmas pies, and crib pies as their oblong shape was meant to resemble Jesus’ cradle. The pies were initially made of meat, usually mutton and were influenced by crusaders who came back from the Middle East with spices.   Christmas Pudding Christmas puddings are sometimes called figgy pudding. It is made from beef, mutton, currants, wines and spices, frumenty was typically eaten as a fasting meal in preparation for the Christmas celebrations.   Advent Calendars The season of Advent is traditionally celebrated by Christmas in the four weeks leading up to Christmas Day. It begins on the Sunday that falls between November 27th and December 3rd each year and symbolizes the ‘coming’ of Christ. By the last 1950’s, chocolate Advent calendars were popular and now, the cardboard Christmas countdowns contain a variety of treats, including beauty produces, children’s toys, gin and even cheese.   Christmas Cards In 1843, Sir Henry Cole, a civil servant and educator, and his friend John Horsley, an artist, produced the first Christmas card. The development of printing processes meant Christmas cards grew popular during the Victorian era with new, distinctive designs on sale in bookshops.   Christmas Crackers Crackers are a Victorian invention, created by a sweet maker who wanted a novel way of selling his wares after sales slumped. The story goes that Tom Smith watched a fire crackle and the thought of how the packaging could ‘crack’. The sweets were replaced by trinkets and jokes, and paper hats were introduced.   Christmas Lights Christmas is not only the most wonderful time of the year but also the most colourful due to the massive Christmas light displays all over the UK. Take advantage of that by driving around and looking at the beautifully lit-up houses or drive through attractions with your family.   References The Telegraph. (2019). Christmas traditions: Advent calendars, mince pies and the story of Santa Claus. [online] Available at: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/christmas/0/christmas-traditions-advent-calendars-mince-pies-story-santa/ [Accessed 29 Nov. 2019].   Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who would like support in securing a service post before you apply for an NHS specialty training programme, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to the UK today. 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 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with our podcast, IMG Advisor, You can find us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have several episodes with tips and advice about relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.

The Cost of Living in London

By Samantha Joubert
November 28, 2019

It’s no secret that London is the most expensive place to live in the UK and one of the most expensive cities in the world. Despite the hefty price tag that comes hand-in-hand with living in the UK’s capital, it’s still a highly sought-after location for its vibrant atmosphere and abundance of attractions. In this article, we will be dissecting the cost of living in London to help you decide if it’s a city you would like to consider relocating to.   Accommodation There are numerous costs to consider when relocating to the UK and these costs will vary depending on your situation. Whether you’ll be relocating on your own or with you family can have a huge impact on the cost of living in any city, let alone in London. One of the most important costs to consider, no matter the circumstances, is accommodation. London is notorious for its steep house prices, so it is probably best to consider this cost before any others. In the table below, you can see the average prices of renting and buying in London, though it is important to note that this is just a guide, and the prices can vary depending on the area of the city you’re hoping to move to.   Renting: Cost of Renting in London per Month Cost 1 Bedroom Apartment in the City Centre £1,696.82 1 Bedroom Apartment Outside of the City Centre £1,203.32 3 Bedroom Apartment in the City Centre £3,161.11 3 Bedroom Apartment Outside of the City Centre £2,024.51     Buying: Cost of Buying in London Cost Average price of a property in London £457,471 Average lowest potential price of property in the cheapest area of London £297,039     Utilities Another obvious expense to consider is utility bills such as water, electricity and gas. As with the property prices, this is merely a guide and can differ based on a number of different factors such as the size of your accommodation and the energy provider you are with. Type of Utility Cost 1 Bedroom apartment council tax per year Up to £1200             3 Bedroom apartment council tax per year Up to £1,400            1 Bedroom apartment water bill per month £24.60 3 Bedroom apartment water bill per month £29.05 1 Bedroom apartment electricity bill per month £25.00 3 Bedroom apartment electricity bill per month £60.00 1 Bedroom apartment gas bill per month £26.50 3 Bedroom apartment gas bill per month £60.57 Internet bill per month (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data) £31.35 Potential monthly utility total for a 1-bedroom apartment: £207.45 Potential monthly utility total for a 3-bedroom apartment: £267.64     Childcare Education in state funded schools in the UK is free once a child starts infant school as council tax covers these costs. However, if you have a child below school age, or if you need someone to look after your children after school, you will need to pay for a childminder or nursery. Type of Childcare Cost per week Registered Childminder (25 hours for a child under 2) £159 Day Nursery (25 hours for a child under 2) £174  Part-time Nanny (25 Hours) £250-£400 per week including tax and National Insurance contributions Monthly total for a Registered Childminder for 25 hours per-week: £636 Monthly total for a Day Nursery for 25 hours per-week £696 Monthly cost for a Part-time Nanny for 25 hour per-week, £400 per week: £1600   Groceries The cost of groceries can differ depending on how many people you’re buying for, how much you buy, which supermarket you buy from and if you choose to purchase branded products over shop labelled products, so we can only offer a rough estimate. However, the average monthly cost of groceries for a single person in London if they were only buying the basics is £250. The table below offers a breakdown of common household products and is not exhaustive. Product Cost Milk 1 litre 97p Loaf of Bread 500 grams £1.09 Carton of 12 Eggs £2.04 Cheese 500 grams £3.48 Chicken Breasts 1kg £5.93 Beef 1kg £8.28 Rice 1kg £1.28 1 head of Lettuce 75p Tomatoes 500g £1.30 Potatoes 1kg £1.19 Onions 1kg £1.02 Apples 1kg £1.88 Bananas 1kg £1.07 Oranges 1kg £2.03 Coffee 200-gram jar £2.15 Teabags 125-gram box £1.50 Sugar 2kg bag £1.30 Toilet Roll x 4 rolls £2.00 Shower Gel 250ml £1.00 Toothpaste 125ml £2.00 Deodorant 50ml £2.04 Shampoo 400ml £4.41 Washing Powder 2.6kg £6.00 Washing up Liquid 780ml £1.80 Beer 0.5 litre bottle £1.80 Bottle of Wine £8.00 Water 1.5 litre bottle 83p Total cost if you bought one of each of these items in one shopping trip: £67.14   Commuting and Transportation Expenses Depending on where you will be working, and how much you intend to travel in your free time, it’s worth considering your travel options and the potential expenses. A benefit of living in London is that travel cards will work on multiple modes of transport, for example, Oyster cards work on both tubes and buses, and the cost is capped. If you plan to use public transport, is also worth considering which zones you will be frequenting as this will also have an impact on the cost. We have a more in-depth article about modes of transport in the UK which explains the London transport system in more detail which you can read here, but to give you an idea of what public transport in London is like, there’s over 19,000 bus stops in London served by roughly 8000 buses daily. Mode of Transport Cost One-Way local transport ticket £2.50 Weekly Zone 1-6 Oyster Travelcard £60.20 Weekly Zone 1-2 Oyster Travelcard £32.10 1km Taxi Journey £3.11 1 litre of Petrol £1.29 Monthly Transportation Pass £144.24 Monthly Zone 1-6 Oyster Travelcard £246.60 Monthly Zone 1-2 Oyster Travelcard £134.80 A month’s worth of one-way tickets: £150   Leisure and Activities Whilst it may not be considered a necessity, it is important to make sure you have some extra money for activities you enjoy. As such, it’s good to get an idea of the cost of restaurants, cinemas and other leisure activities. Once again, the prices will differ from restaurant to restaurant and venue to venue, these are merely average costs. Activity Cost Meal for 1 person at an inexpensive restaurant £15 Meal for 2 people at a mid-range restaurant £55 Fast Food meal for 1 person £6.00 Beer 0.5ltr bottle £5.00 Coke/Pepsi 0.33 litre bottle £4.50 Water 0.33 litre bottle £1.46 Cappuccino £2.81 Monthly Gym Membership for 1 person £38.46 Cinema tickets for 2 people £26 Theatre tickets for 2 people £174 Meal for 2 and a trip to the cinema total: £81 Meal for 2 and a trip to the theatre total: £229   We cannot offer any kind of definitive monthly total as there are so many variables, from where you live, to how you intend to travel, and how many groceries you will purchase a month. Below, we offer a very rough monthly total for a single person and a family of three, but we really do emphasise that this is only a rough estimate and can vary greatly depending on your circumstances. The following estimates are based on renting in the centre of London, they also do not include any kind of leisure activities and assume that the adults in the family will be using a monthly transport pass rather than driving. Costs for One Person: Rough monthly costs for 1 person Cost 1 Bedroom Apartment Outside of the City Centre £1,203.32 Council tax per-month £100 Water bill £24.60 Electricity bill £25.00 Gas bill £26.50 Internet bill per month (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data) £31.35 Groceries £250 Monthly Zone 1-2 Oyster Travelcard £134.80  Monthly Total: £1795.57   Costs for a Family: Rough monthly costs for 2 adults and 1 child under 5 years old Cost 3 Bedroom Apartment Outside of the City Centre £2,024.51 Council tax per-month £116.67 Water bill £29.05 Electricity bill £60.00 Gas bill £60.57 Internet bill per month (60 Mbps or more, unlimited data) £31.35 Monthly total for a Day Nursery for 25 hours per-week £696 Groceries £625 Monthly transport pass for 2 adults £493.20 Monthly Total: £4136.35   Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who would like to relocate to London, or anywhere else in the UK, please email your CV to [email protected] and we will be happy to help you. 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 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! Listen to BDI Resourcing on the go with our podcast, IMG Advisor, You can find us on Apple Podcast, Spotify, Stitcher and Buzzsprout. We have several episodes with tips and advice about relocating to the UK and the routes you can take to achieve this.   References Moneyadviceservice.org.uk. (2019). Average childcare costs. [online] Available at: https://www.moneyadviceservice.org.uk/en/articles/childcare-costs [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019]. Horne, B. (2019). Buying a house in London: house prices and costs - Which?. [online] Which? Money. Available at: https://www.which.co.uk/money/mortgages-and-property/first-time-buyers/buying-a-home/buying-a-house-or-flat-in-london-arf8g3r8sxpp [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019]. Living, C. and Kingdom, U. (2019). Cost of Living in London, United Kingdom. Nov 2019 prices in London.. [online] Expatistan, cost of living comparisons. Available at: https://www.expatistan.com/cost-of-living/london [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019]. Living, C. and Kingdom, U. (2019). Cost of Living in London. [online] Numbeo.com. Available at: https://www.numbeo.com/cost-of-living/in/London [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019]. Workgateways.com. (2019). New arrivals - Cost of Living in the UK, Cost of living London, Cost of living England. [online] Available at: https://www.workgateways.com/working-in-the-uk/cost-of-living [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019]. Citrus Relocation and Lifestyle. (2019). Relocation to London and UK Utility Prices and London | Citrus Relocation. [online] Available at: https://www.citrusrelocation.com/utilities-property-pricing-london/ [Accessed 26 Nov. 2019]. Data.london.gov.uk. (2019). TfL Bus Stop Locations and Routes – London Datastore. [online] Available at: https://data.london.gov.uk/dataset/tfl-bus-stop-locations-and-routes [Accessed 28 Nov. 2019].

Commuting to work in the UK

By Gabrielle Richardson
November 25, 2019

According to government data, the average UK commuting time is 54 minutes, up from 45 minutes last decade. On average, a Brit will spend 400 days of their life commuting. There are various reasons why an individual chooses to commute to work, rather than find a job closer to home. Most commuters travel from a small town, village or rural area to a city or large town where there are a wider range of emplyment oportunities. Did you know that only 5.9% of the UK is urban? The remainder is farm and natural land which means that a commute is essential for many people. Advantages of Commuting Better quality of life Closer to family Save money on higher living costs The ability to catch up on sleep (public transport) Better entertainment options Catch up on work Disadvantages of Commuting The cost of travel is expensive Longer working days Reduced time with spouse and children Lower energy levels Commuting Options Where you live and work in the UK will depend on how you decide to commute to work. Cars Over a third of the UK population (36%) use their car to get to work Environment Protection UK has demonstrated the negative impacts of car pollution in the UK. They report that road transport contributes 22% of total UK emissions of CO2 and its high noise level adversely affect 30% of the UK population. If it is absolutely essential that you have to travel to work by car, then you could consider the following ways to reduce your fuel consumpton and save money: Drive more efficiently: lowering your overall speed and changing gear earlier will burn less fuel Check your tyre pressure: Under inflated tyres will significantly increase your fuel consumption Drive less: Try and drive for three days of the week and get public transport for two days Purchase an electric car: The cost of charging your electric car is about a third to that of petrol and diesel  Public Transport Over 10% of workers commute only by bus and 9% by train Trains cost the most to commute, with the average spend across the UK being £193 a month and a maxmimum spend of £365 a month for workers commuting into London. Even if your local bus route does not cover your commute door-to-door, you might consider using it to get as close as possible and then walk or cycle the rest of the way. Using a park and ride scheme is also another alternative as it could help you avoid the hassle of having to find and pay for expensive city centre parking. Most public transport systems tend to offer travel cards to reduce your spend than to pay for individual fares. However, the cost of a season ticket for your rail or bus fare can seen expensive in the first instance. Some NHS hospitals offer interest-free season ticket loan schemes to their employees, so check if this applies to you. If the scheme is not available in your hospital, you could consider purchasing the ticket off on a 0% credit card and pay it off in monthly instalments. If you do choose this pathway, please may sure to pay the cost off in full before the 0% comes to an end. Cycling and Walking 6% of the population walk to work 31% combine walking with their daily commute 3% of UK workers cycle to work On average, a person will cycle 14 miles to work. However, some extreme cases were highlighted which hit 19 miles. If your commute to work is relatively short and the route has cycle paths, you might want to consider cycling. As well as reducing your carbon foot print it will also keep you healthy and fit. Before you purchase your bike, check to see if your NHS hospital offers a Cycle to Work Scheme. The scheme gives you the opportunity to purchase a bike of your choice, with the necessary safety gear, tax free. Similarly to cycling, walking is only really an option for those with a shorter commute. Walking is a great way to get to know your local area. How do BDI Resourcing get to work? BDI Resourcing is based in the centre of Bristol (a very busy major city) and in total, 134.8 miles a day are travelled by employees getting to and from work. The average mile travelled per day is 4.2 and the average travel time is 36 minutes 11 seconds. BDI Resourcing travel v UK average Type of travel BDI Resourcing Nationally Car 0% 36% Bus 56% 10% Walk 25% 6% Cycle 13% 3% Scooter 6% -   To summarise, BDI Resourcing is a very green company with no-one using the car to get to work. Most of us use public transport and a quarter of us walk to work, improving fitness levels. However, we do beat the UK average of an individual spending over 30 minutes to commute to work, with our average being 36 minutes and 11 seconds. Relocation to the UK If you are an international doctor who has decided that the UK is for you, email your CV to [email protected] and we can support you in securing an NHS post and on your journey to the UK today. 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 45 videos on everything you need to know about relocating to the UK and joining the NHS! References Totaljobs. (2019). 36% of the UK population still drive to work, only 3% cycle | Totaljobs. [online] Available at: https://www.totaljobs.com/insidejob/36-of-the-uk-population-still-drive-to-work-only-3-cycle/ [Accessed 22 Nov. 2019]. BBC News. (2019). How much of your area is built on?. [online] Available at: https://www.bbc.com/news/uk-41901294 [Accessed 22 Nov. 2019]. Matt, F. (2019). 7 simple ways to cut the cost of your commute. [online] money.co.uk. Available at: https://www.money.co.uk/guides/7-simple-ways-to-cut-the-cost-of-your-commute.htm [Accessed 22 Nov. 2019]. Acas.org.uk. (2019). Half of workers wouldn’t take a job with an hour’s commute | Acas. [online] Available at: https://www.acas.org.uk/index.aspx?articleid=5300 [Accessed 25 Nov. 2019].

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