Top 10 Tips for Australians moving to the United Kingdom – Moving to the United Kingdom (UK) after finishing school in Australia used to be a popular gap year excursion.
We are seeing more Australians start to embark on the adventure of moving to the UK in their late 30’s and 40’s, seeking everything from career advancement, entrepreneurial opportunity, and adventure.
In this article we list our top 10 financial tips for Australian expats living or moving to the United Kingdom.
- Have the Correct Visa – As a member of the Commonwealth, Australian citizens can apply for “right of abode” if they have a parent who was born in the UK, or if they were born before December 31, 1982, and have continuously been an Australian (Commonwealth) citizen. If you establish right of abode, you can legally live and work in the UK without any immigration restrictions.
Another way for Australians to move to the UK is under the UK ancestry visa, which is available to citizens of Commonwealth Countries. The following conditions apply but essentially if you have a Grandparent born in the UK it is open to you. However, unlike the right of abode the Ancestry Visa has a 5-year term.
If you are outside these two methods, the UK has 4 types of Work Visas.
- Short-term work visas.
- Long-term work visas.
- Investor, business development and talent visas.
Work Visas can be tough to get so instead of leaving a job (especially if you are a professional), explore opportunities with your current employer. You never know it might be a win, win scenario. For more information on Visa types contact the British embassy or consulate.
- Budget Before You Move to the UK– if you’re moving to UK your disposable income may increase as tax rates and income levels differ from Australia depending on your profession or industry, but there can be stark differences in the cost of living compared to home especially if you are moving to London. Make sure you do your homework.
- Setup Multiple Accounts– the bucket strategy is a very well-known way to manage your expenses whilst saving money and this is even more so for Australian expats in the UK. Setup an account for your expenses, an account for your savings, an account for travel. In fact, you can setup as many accounts as you like.
- Make Sure You Save– when you move overseas it is unlikely that you will be receiving payments into your Australian superannuation account. Your friends and colleagues back in Australia have 10% of their salary going into their superannuation account so unless your employer is making a similar payment into a company savings plan you need to make sure that you are saving at least this amount every year. You may also end up with a UK pension scheme which can add nicely to your retirement assets after 55. You may need some professional advice around how to manage these assets when you return to Australia.
- Get the Right Place to Live– Budget, location, proximity to work, schools, and transport links are all key factors when thinking about the best place to live. It can be difficult to get this right especially somewhere like London where the wrong location will add a world of pain if you have too far to get to work. Some solid real estate research is recommended.
- Monitor your utility bills– with the notorious English weather you must carefully watch your electricity and gas bills. Whilst it’s a nice luxury to have all the heating on in the house in winter try and turn off the heating in rooms that you aren’t using. You will find a remarkable difference in your monthly bill.
- Make Sure your Healthcare is Covered– The UK’s National Health Service (NHS) is a free service which is great if you have the right to reside but if you don’t you will need separate health insurance. Take a deep breath as it can be expensive.
- Don’t Keep All Your Cash in the One Place–we frequently advise clients to maintain an investment and/or banking footprint in Australia. You want to make sure that you always have access to cash.
- Manage Your Australian Assets Appropriately– when you move overseas and qualify as a non-resident for tax purposes how you manage your financial assets in Australia as a expat in London is completely different to how you would manage them as a Australian tax resident. Make sure you are aware of how the tax status on Australian assets changes with your non-residency status and what you may have to do differently. Estate planning advice is also critical.
- Beware of the local financial adviser– Some UK investment products are not appropriate for expats, so if you are working with a financial advisor in the UK make sure they understand the big picture and push them to explain how any recommendations are consistent with your long-term financial goals.
At Atlas we pride ourselves on providing practical actionable advice for Australian expats globally. Our network of specialist tax, mortgage, insurance, estate planning and jurisdictional investment advice ensures you receive the right advice the first time.