The Ultimate Guide: Living as an Expat in London

The Ultimate Guide: Living as an Expat in London

Foreigners who relocate to London quickly learn that the modern metropolis is made up of a variety of distinctive communities that have fused together over time to form an unified urban area. These unique areas are all wonderful places to live and raise a family because each one has its own culture and history. London boasts a staggering variety of boroughs, each with its own particular character and distinctive living environment. London is a new place for an expat to live.

London is a city that is open to influences from around the world while yet being proud of its past. If they venture outside of the city’s typical ex-pat and tourist destinations, both expats and tourists will find a treasure mine of cultural, historical, and idiosyncratic treasures. With a population of approximately 8 million, London is one of the most welcoming cities in the world to visitors from other countries. More than 300 languages reportedly are spoken in the nation’s capital each day, which can only mean that tourists from all over the world feel welcome and valued here. Let’s explore this stunning city’s world.

The Start of Living as an Expat in London

Being a resident of London is one thing; moving to the UK with the means and mindset necessary to make the most of your stay there is quite another. The thorough guide to expat life in London provided by The Expat Info Desk gives you the information you need to make the most of your stay.

London is a large metropolis with numerous unique neighbourhoods. Consult the international relocation guide to the city provided by the Expat Info Desk to find a property in London that satisfies your requirements and your budget. The most well-liked neighbourhoods in London are thoroughly described, together with statistics on population density, nearby amenities, and community atmosphere.

What It's Like to Be an Expat in London: The Logistics

Red double-decker buses that are commonplace throughout the city are another well-known icon. The largest-ever European fleet of 2,500 hybrid electric buses, which reduce pollution and carbon dioxide emissions by up to 30%, is one of the more than 9,300 buses currently in operation in London. To find out when their bus will arrive, passengers can use their smartphones, SMS, or the internet.

They can also be seen everywhere, in addition to the city’s renowned black taxicabs. It can take a driver up to three years to study and memorise the whole road system of London.

If you want to drive a car in London, take into account the T-charge and the Congestion Charge. Drivers in Central London will have to pay a toll similar to Singapore’s Electronic Road Pricing during rush hour (ERP). The Emissions Surcharge also referred to as the T-Charge or Toxicity Charge, is a further fee imposed on older vehicles to cut down on pollution. The T-Charge will be replaced by the Ultra Low Emission Zone in April 2019, which will be in effect for all vehicles entering Central London.

And also parking can be a nightmare in London, especially during rush hours. Finding a suitable spot within a reasonable distance to your final destination and the additional—also literal—price you have to pay may cause painful experiences. When you are too tired to find an ideal parking area, you can look for the  top 9 parking apps.

The Community of Expats in the UK

The setting for this joyful family is the borough market in London. Groceries, cuisine from food trucks, and artisanal delicacies can all be found at Borough Market.

In the United Kingdom, London is a significant centre for business, culture, and politics. In London, more than 300 languages are spoken, and 6.2 million residents of non-British nationalities call the city home.

For foreigners wishing to settle in the UK, Leeds is a popular option. London is about a 4-hour journey from Leeds, which is in the north of the country. If you’re looking for a large city’s amenities without the noise, it’s a beautiful spot to visit.

Living and Working in London

The United Kingdom has historically had one of the strongest economies in the world, contributing to the Industrial Revolution and developing into one of the most imposing financial organisations on the planet. It continues to be a well-liked option for expats looking to further their careers in one of the most international cities. In the most recent Expat Explorer Survey from HSBC, almost 9,000 expats who are currently living in the UK cited “professional growth” as their main reason for moving there.

Despite Brexit, an increasing number of foreign nationals are relocating to the UK to work in a range of fields, including financial institutions in Canary Wharf and creative and information technology firms, among others. Many people have made Central London their home, including those who work in the media, investment banking, and insurance sectors, as well as in the arts and entertainment.

Apply for a Work Visa

Unless you are a citizen of the European Union or a participant in the European Free Trade Association, you need a work visa to reside and work in the United Kingdom. Try to get a job offer and a work permit as soon as you can before moving to London. If you’re travelling to the UK to work in London, check the Shortage Occupation List that the UK government offers to hasten the processing of your work visa.

You just need a passport from a nation that the British government recognises as a Commonwealth Nation to work and live in the UK. If you meet the eligibility conditions and have British heritage, you can also apply for a UK Ancestry Visa. You can live, work, study, and possibly establish a permanent residence in the UK with this visa.

The UK’s five “tiers” of the points-based immigration system, which helps control immigration to Britain from outside the EEC, offer a variety of work visas (EEA). The five formal tiers are ones, twos, threes, fours, and fives. While the rest are open to candidates, Tiers 1 and 3 have numerous subcategories.

Tier 1 Visas: Entrepreneurs, Investors, and High-Performance Employees

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Graduate Entrepreneur visas are available for anyone who desire to launch a new business in the UK or take over an existing one. The entrepreneur must have at least GBP 200,000 in the company’s bank account if they are a corporate director or self-employed in the business they are engaged in. Visa recipients are allowed to stay in the UK for up to two years if they successfully invest capital in their business and add a sizable number of full-time employees throughout the first three years as a requirement for acquiring a visa.

To be eligible for a Tier 1 Investor visa, applicants must invest at least GBP 2 million in British corporations or UK bonds. Successful Tier 1 Investor visa holders may apply to settle in the UK within two and a half years as long as they invest GBP 10 million or GBP 5 million.

For a Tier 1 Exceptional Talent visa applicant to be approved, there must be proof of exceptional competence in the arts, humanities, digital technology, science, engineering, or medicine. The visa is extendable for the first five years and four months.

Tier 2: Long-term Work Visas

Non-EU citizens with specific skills who have a job offer and supporting sponsorship documentation are qualified for Tier 2 visas. Any organisation or business that plans to sponsor a worker must register with the UK Visas and Immigration, which maintains a list of authorised sponsors that also includes their ratings and locations. Once your employer has been approved for the register, you can submit an application to the UK Visas and Immigration department for an annual allocation of Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS). Employer sponsors grant you a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), which is necessary to apply for a work visa outside the UK or if you are already in the UK, an extension of stay.

Other subcategories within Tier 2 apply to both Tier 1 and Tier 2, such as the Intra Company Transfer (ICT) Visa and the General Work Visa. If you are applying for a Tier 2 General work visa, you must be paid at least GBP 30,000 a year, or the rate determined by UK Immigration to be appropriate for your employment, whichever is higher.

If you have been employed by the company for more than a year and are being transferred to a new job, you may be eligible to apply for an Intra Company Transfer (ICT) visa. Recent graduates with at least three months of work experience at the sponsoring company’s foreign office are eligible for the visa.

Typically, the ICT visa is required for most foreign nationals moving to the UK. To be eligible for an ICT Visa, you must also have a valid job offer, an official Certificate of Sponsorship, and the minimum wage required for your visa, whichever is higher. The sum for long-term employees has been set at GBP 41,500 by the UK Visas and Immigration Agency.

Candidates should have at least GBP 945 in their bank account for three months as proof of self-support before applying for a Tier 2 General work or ICT visa. If your sponsor has an A rating in the registration, you might not need to verify cash through your bank account.

The Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) is a fee that must be paid by non-EEA visa applicants who plan to remain in the UK for longer than six months but not permanently (IHS). Due to this Health Surcharge, the visa holder is qualified for free medical care through the UK’s National Health Service (NHS). You must still pay the immigration health surcharge even if you have private health insurance.

To find out more about visa and immigration requirements in the United Kingdom, go to

What are the Wages of Expats in London?

One of the priciest cities in Europe, London has one of the highest costs of livings on the continent. Recent declines in the value of the pound are combined with rising prices due to inflation. What is covered by your company’s migration to London? You must determine whether your income is sufficient to pay for housing and education expenses. Costs related to transportation and health care may also be a consideration. What kind of income is appropriate for someone who lives in London?

In 2018, the average pay for ex-pats in London was USD 107,900, which is somewhat more than the USD 9000 global average. This fact was discovered to be the average salary for British citizens living abroad who were surveyed by HSBC. When they moved to the UK, several said that their income increased by 29%. Is it possible to make ends meet in a nation with such high living costs?

According to the Office for National Statistics, there were 1.24 people from outside the European Union working in the UK in 2018, up 34,000 from 2017. The Office for National Statistics (ONS) released its annual report on UK employee earnings in April of this year. London has a weekly median wage for full-time workers of GBP 713, which is GBP 144 more than the UK average. According to the study, London’s high median salaries are a result of a large number of people working in well-paying professions and jobs, as well as benefits offered to workers there.

Even for foreigners, the majority of their costs are related to housing. You’ll spend the majority of your money on basics like food, healthcare, education, transportation, utilities, and leisure. The Trust for London’s Minimum Income Calculator provides answers to three straightforward questions: where in London do you live, how many adults and children you have, and what ages each of them are. A couple of working age in London should earn at least GBP 26,936 a year in their profession, with two children in primary school.