How to Move to the UK: Immigration Guide

Moving to the UK is something that many Aussies do at some stage, be it for a couple of years or for the long term. Moving to the United Kingdom from Australia is not a terribly difficult process, but there are a few things that you have to take into account when it comes to immigration and visa formalities.

UK, AUZ, Immigration

Working Holiday Visas (Tier Five Youth Mobility Visa)

These are a popular choice for Aussies under 30. They are available in many countries, including the UK under the reciprocal Working Holiday Visa (WHV) Scheme. Under the WHV nationals of eight countries, including Australia, are able to head to the United Kingdom for 24 months to work and travel. There are some restrictions however. You must be between 18 and 30, you can’t function as a professional coach or trainer, you must have around 2000 pounds in savings to support yourself and you can’t readily transfer the WHV to an alternative visa. Note that while this scheme is referred to in most countries as a Working Holiday Visa, United Kingdom immigration refers to it under their Tier Five (Youth Mobility Visa) programme.

Getting a Work Permit (Tier 2 General Visa)

For professionals who are over 30 or who wish to stay in the United Kingdom for more than 24 months, have the option of finding a suitable employer (one who must be already established in the United Kingdom) to obtain a work permit for them. Employers will generally handle the logistics on behalf of their employee.

UK Immigration can usually handle the process in a couple of weeks, as long as the company and the employee both have all their ducks in a row. You can expect to be asked to provide evidence of your qualifications, experience and good standing in the community by the government as a part of the application process. Until April 2011, the UK also operated a scheme called the Highly Skilled Migrants Programme (HSMP) or Tier One Visa. This allowed people who met certain skills shortages to migrate without an offer of employment. This is no longer available, although people already in the UK under this arrangement are allowed to extend their Tier One visa should they wish to.

Other options that may be open to you

If you have parents that were born in the UK or in some other parts of Europe, you may be eligible for citizenship by descent which will get you a European Economic Community Passport – these documents allow work and residence in all EU member states.

Each country has slightly different rules, but as a general rule of thumb if you have a European citizen parent you have a good chance of having access to an EU passport. It is best to check with the relevant immigration authorities to see what they need from you if indeed this option is available to you. Applying for citizenship by descent can take quite some time (often 6-12 months), so be prepared to plan well in advance.

Hopefully this article has helped you understand your options around relocating to the United Kingdom from Australia. Remember, if you’re moving overseas you’ll also need to move your money – OrbitRemit’s services can help you do that without giving away a big chunk in fees. Learn more about the benefits of using OrbitRemit to see how we can help.