Moving to the UK for work

All you need to know if you're moving to the UK from abroad to work at Goldsmiths.

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To receive a salary, Goldsmiths staff must hold a UK bank account.

Before you arrive in the UK

Before you move to the UK, it is worth contacting your current bank to find out the following:

  • If your current bank has a special relationship with a bank in the UK
  • If your bank card can be used in UK cash machines and if there is a charge
  • If you are able to transfer money to and from a UK bank account and if there is a charge
  • If your current bank is able to provide you with a reference, which you can use when opening a UK bank account

Setting up a bank account

To open a UK bank account, you will need to provide the following documentation:

  • Passport
  • Proof of UK address (this can be found on your tenancy agreement or utility bill)
  • Proof of overseas address
  • Proof of employment

Various types of bank accounts are available for you to manage your money. It is possible to open more than one account, and they don't have to be with the same bank or building society. The Money Advice Service provides independent information on choosing the right type of account for your needs.

Visa and MasterCard are widely accepted across London.


London evolved from the joining together of many small villages. Now the city is made up of 33 boroughs, all of which hold their centre and character. 

Goldsmiths’ campus is situated in lively New Cross in South East London and is only 10 minutes from central London by train. Travelling across London is made easy with a public transport system of trains, tubes and buses. 

Deciding where to live 

Goldsmiths’ local guides have much information on the various neighbourhoods across South and East London. You can also visit the Findahood website for more detailed information on particular areas across the city. 

This Rightmove tool suggests places based on your budget and property criteria. Similarly, Commute From lets you search for an area based on the length of the commute and then provides you with average house prices, details of local schools, crime rates and links to local estate agents. 

Where to look 

Rightmove and Zoopla are the main online search engines to use when finding a place to rent or buy. Using these websites, you can filter through properties by the number of bedrooms, area, price and more. Each property will be linked to an estate agent who you can contact for more details and to arrange a viewing. 

Gumtree or Spare Room are useful if you are looking to rent a single room within a house. 


The London housing market provides a wide range of properties available to rent, with the minimum rental period between six and twelve months. Renters will normally be required to pay a holding fee to secure a property, along with a deposit of one or two months’ rent. 

You can rent a property in an unfurnished, partially furnished or fully furnished state. If the property is furnished, it is important to check the inventory list carefully before signing, and you should always ask for a copy for your records. 

You may wish to ask your previous landlord for a reference to pass on to your potential landlord or letting agency. HR can provide you with confirmation of your salary. 

Once you have found a property, you will be asked to sign a contract, also known as a tenancy agreement. This document will contain all the information about your rental agreement, including how much rent should be paid, the length of your tenancy, and both your and your landlord's rights.

If you do not understand something contained within the agreement, hold off signing the contract and ask for clarification. Once you have signed the contract, make sure you keep a copy for your records. For help and advice on housing, contact the Citizens Advice Bureau

  • GOV.UK provides information on housing and local services. This includes further details on the different types of tenancy agreements, as well as advice on what you can do if you have a dispute with your landlord.


If you intend to be in the UK for a longer time period, you may wish to consider buying a property. GOV.UK provides an overview of the process and the costs that are involved. 

Relocation expenses 

The reimbursement of reasonable relocation expenses may be made to eligible new members of staff. Please contact hr-recruitment ( for more information. 


Free healthcare is available to all UK residents through the NHS. Staff working in the UK for longer than six months are eligible. 

Most NHS services are free at the point of use, although prescriptions have a fee attached. Some services may require you to register before you can use them. There are many healthcare facilities close to Goldsmiths. 

General practitioners (GPs) 

Any resident can register with a GP practice in England and receive free primary care. GP’s are doctors who deal with both physical and mental health problems and can prescribe medicine that you are unable to buy from pharmacies. 

GP practices have catchment areas, therefore it is important to check if your place of residence is within the boundaries of a practice. It's up to the GP practice to decide if they're accepting patients at any given time, but they can only refuse for non-discriminatory reasons. 

Registered with a GP practice does not mean you're automatically entitled to free NHS hospital treatment. Please visit the NHS Website for more information.  


Immediate medical care is available by dialling 999 and requesting an ambulance. However, this number is only to be used for life-threatening situations. Accident and Emergency (A&E) provides emergency care for badly injured or those with serious symptoms. They usually have a long waiting time for non-emergency cases.  

If you’re unsure, you can dial 111 24 hours a day and speak to an NHS advisor. They can give you information on local services, connect you to a doctor or nurse, or let you know if it sounds like you need professional medical attention. 

Find your local accident and emergency service 


At pharmacies, you're able to buy some medicines over the counter, as well as pick up medicine that your doctor has prescribed. In England, a small fee is usually charged for prescription medicine. 

Pharmacists are qualified healthcare professionals and can assist and give advice on minor illnesses.  


You can book an appointment at any opticians that suits you. You will be charged a fee for the appointment, and further charges will be incurred if you need to buy prescription glasses. 

As part of  Goldsmiths Staff Wellbeing, we offer a free eye test voucher to all employees. 


While sorting out childcare can be a big task, many options are available to you in the UK. 

  • GOV.UK displays the most up-to-date childcare information for your local area

Children aged 0-5 

Childcare for children under the age of 4 is usually not available free of charge in the UK. The range and cost of childcare varies significantly but it is generally expensive. Childcare is typically available Monday to Friday and not on weekends. It will also vary depending on nursery term times.  

Day Nurseries and Nursery schools 

Nurseries accept preschool children as young as 3 months but the exact age will vary depending on the nursery. Similarly, some schools have a nursery attached, which children aged three can attend part-time. 


Childminders are registered individuals who look after children in their own homes, in return for payment. 

To find out more about daycare or childminding within the Borough of Lewisham, please visit 

Students' Union (SU) Nursery 

On campus in the Students' Union, Goldsmiths has a 25-place nursery for children aged between 3 months and 5 years. Staff who wish to use this service must apply for a place for their child but please note that numbers are limited.  

All nursery staff are highly qualified and extremely experienced in early years' practice.  

Children aged 5 and over 

In the UK, education is compulsory for children aged between 5 and 17, with a free place at a state school offered to all children. 

Most parents choose to send their children to a state school, but independent or homeschooling is available. 

If you will be employed in the UK for 12 months or more, your child is legally required to attend school. The Local Education Authority will provide them a place, free of charge, in a school near your residence. 

However, different rules apply to those making applications for children not yet living in the UK. These rules are explained in the School Admissions Code

School structure   

There are four compulsory education stages:  

  • KS1 – 5-7 year olds (infant school) 
  • KS2 – 7-11 years olds (junior school) 
  • KS3 – 11-14 years olds (secondary school) 
  • KS4 – 14-16 years olds (secondary school) 

Primary schools often cater for KS1 and KS2, although they can be separate. At age 11, children will go straight from primary to secondary school, which is KS3 and KS4. 

Young people in the UK are required to stay in some form of education until the end of the academic year in which they turn 17, although this does not necessarily mean staying in school. 

Please speak with schools individually to find out more about: 

To research schools in your area and to compare school performance, visit GOV.UK

School term dates 

Each school has different term dates. However, most school years begin in September and end in late July. The academic year is split into three terms: Autumn, Spring and Summer. The average school day will run between 9am and 3.30 pm. 

Halfway through the term, there is usually a one or two-week holiday but this will depend on the school. Schools may also run after-school activities in which your child may be eligible to participate. 

Living costs

London is one of the most expensive cities in the UK. Along with the cost of accommodation, there are many other expenses which need to be considered. 

Council tax 

Every household in England has to pay council tax to cover the cost of public services such as rubbish collection, street lighting, library, police and fire services. Council tax applies to all domestic properties, regardless of whether owned or rented.  

The amount of council tax you pay will depend on the valuation band that your property falls into. You must let the council know how many people live on the property, as living alone may entitle you to a single-person’s discount. There are various ways to pay, including direct debit or by phone. 

For more information about council tax, visit your local council’s website. 

Utility Bills   

You will need to arrange utilities such as gas, electricity and water upon moving into your new home. In some cases, bills for these services will be included in rent payments, but usually,, this will be paid separately and directly to the provider. 

Your water supplier will depend on the area in which you live, details of which can be found on the Ofwat website. 

The Citizens Advice Bureau provides a comprehensive and impartial guide to providers on their website, which you may find useful. 

Gas and electricity 

For gas and electricity, there are several suppliers and you should choose the one that suits you best. Comparison websites like Uswitch can help you search through suppliers and decide on the package you wish to go with. 

It is worth noting that it is usually more cost-effective to buy gas and electricity from the same provider. 

Telephone and internet  

You will need to check the broadband coverage at your address, which can be done by entering your postcode onto comparison websites such as Broadband

Many suppliers will cater to your postcode, each offering different deals. Some suppliers offer bundle packages attached to a landline. 

TV licence 

A valid TV licence must cover you if you watch or record TV as it’s being broadcast. This includes using devices such as a computer, laptop or mobile phone to watch.  

Full details of obtaining and paying for a TV licence are available on the TV licensing website

Mobile phone 

If arriving from the EU, you can use your home plan to make and receive calls and texts and use data at no extra cost. However, if you are moving to the UK long-term, it is advised that you set up a UK mobile plan. 

You can purchase a SIM card upon arrival in the UK. Various contract types are available, as well as Pay As You Go plans. Make sure your phone is unlocked or can have dual sims so it will work in the UK. 


National Insurance and Income Tax contributions are automatically removed from your monthly salary. 

Income Tax 

All employees in the UK must pay income tax, but the amount you pay will vary depending on the amount you earn. Similarly, not all income is taxable, with tax-free allowance subject to annual change.  

You may also have to pay UK Income Tax on foreign income, including any wages you earn abroad, foreign investment or rental income from overseas property. 

National Insurance 

National Insurance is a compulsory deduction from your income that funds state-provided services like pensions and health care. The amount you pay will vary depending on your income, and once you reach state pension age, you are no longer required to contribute. 

To work in the UK, you must have a National Insurance number, a personal number issued by the Department of Work and Pension (DWP). It is used to record a person’s NI contribution, as well as being a reference number within the social security system. It is not proof of identity. 

If you have any queries regarding your National Insurance registration or other tax issues, you should contact HMRC.  

Obtaining a National Insurance number 

You may already have an NI number, which will be printed on the back of your biometric residence permit. If not, you must apply for one as soon as you arrive in the UK. 

Once you have applied, you will receive a letter from the Department of Work and Pensions asking you to attend a National Insurance number interview. You will need to bring documentation to prove your identity, such as: