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croeso

Whatever your reason might be, you are thinking of moving from your country and more specifically to Wales or somewhere else in the UK. Personally, after graduating in Italy, I have been looking for a job in my area for quite a long time and nothing came up at all, mainly because of the economical crisis that my country and many others are experiencing at the moment. I have studied languages, I was always very interested in the UK and loved visiting it, so I decided to try and find a job here.

Enough unnecessary details about me though; as this is the first real post of this blog I thought some practical information might be useful.

Getting to and from Wales

There are two main airports that are convenient to reach Wales: Cardiff Airport and Bristol Airport. You can find information about their flights and airlines on the official websites.

Both airports are linked to various cities in Wales by train or by coach. I find the National Express coach service to be particularly useful as it connects the main cities directly to the airports, without the need to have several changes of transport during the same journey.

If you are a bit unlucky like me, there might not be many flights from around here useful to reach your destination at an affordable price, so you might have to travel to one of the London Airports (Gatwick, Stansted, Heathrow, Luton) which can be quite a long journey, but there are coaches and trains that can take you there even while travelling at night.

Additional trains information can be found at this website, that allows you to plan your journey and see what is the easier, quicker way, the prices and the necessary changes.

Settling down

So now you’re in Wales! πŸ™‚ It is exciting, but before running around visiting, you probably need to look for an accomodation, if you haven’t already started.

Before moving here, I had already started looking online for houses I could visit once I landed in my destination city and that helped me to find a place more easily.

Depending on your needs and possibilities, there are different things that you can consider: sharing a flat or a house, looking for a place for just yourself, looking up adverts from privates or going through an agency.

There are several websites that can help you looking for adverts, or once here you can ask to the letting agencies to help you in your research. There are also agencies that specialize in accomodations for students versus accomodations for professional, if you care about that.

So here is a list of website that you might consider looking at:

http://uk.easyroommate.com/
http://www.gumtree.com/

Or try and research “Letting agency” + the city you are interested in.

Tips: It could be a good idea to stay in a bed and breakfast for a few days while you visit the places that you think might be good for you and evaluate the best option. It is always best to see the place in person, meet the housemates or ask some basic information about them, check that the house is close to where you need to be or well connected by buses (if you don’t drive). It is also a good idea to check that there is a supermarket and a surgery nearby.

Remember to ask if the house is furnished and if bills and council taxes are included in the final rent as well to avoid surprises with the final price.

Transports

I mentioned the buses; it is useful to become familiar with this service if like me you don’t drive or have a car. Most cities have a bus station where information is provided, but you can find more on the First Group website.

It can be tricky at first if you are not familiar with the city, but it gets easier, I promise you! The tickets or passes can always be bought on board of the buses, so no need to ask for them at the bus station or in shops (like it happens in some European countries).

Opening a Bank Account

When it comes to opening a bank account, you have many choices of banks: Lloyds TSB, Barclays, HSBC, Co-operative, etc, however it can sometimes be a little tricky to provide all the documents necessary if you have been in the country for just a few weeks.

In particular, it can be difficult to provide a Proof of Address, given that you have just moved and received no letters or bills yet. Different banks have different requirements for this kind of stuff and personally after a few rejections, I have managed to open one with Lloyds TSB and have always had a very good customer experience with them.

Some suggestions to avoid problems with providing proof of addresses, is asking your landlady/landlord to sign a tenancy agreement that shows that you are indeed residing at their address. Otherwise, if you already have a job there, you can ask your employer to write a letter addressed to yourself at your new address with a job offer, or with a simple confirmation of address.

NIN Number

The National Insurance number makes sure your National Insurance contributions and tax are recorded against your name. You need to apply to one if you want to work in the UK and this needs to be known to your employer and to the HMRC (HM Revenue & Customs).

In order to apply for a NIN you must have the right to work in the UK. If you do, you can just contact the Job Centre plus and they will send you the forms to apply and might contact you for a short interview as well and ask you to bring some documents with you.

For more information, see this website.

Registering with a Surgery

Thanks to the amazing Welsh (and British) weather, you never know when you’ll need a doctor, so it is a good idea to register with a surgery as soon as you can, as to be prepared in case of need. On the NHS website, you can see what is the surgery or dentist practice closer to you and if you go there, you can just fill in some forms and register with the GP.

Embassy
Once you start living in the UK, depending on your country of origin, you usually need to let your Embassy know about it. You can generally find their contact information online and your Ministry of foreign affairs’s website can normally tell you what you need to do in these cases.

So, this is all I could think of for now, but if anyone requires additional information about any of the topics above, please leave a comment to this post and I will do my best to answer πŸ™‚

Thanks! πŸ™‚

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