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Considering moving to London - would LOVE input from charming Brits

Considering moving to London - would LOVE input from charming Brits

Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 10:07 AM
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Considering moving to London - would LOVE input from charming Brits

My husband and I have been divinely inspired. We're Canadian, currently living in beautiful downtown Toronto...and we're newlyweds. I'm on the verge of being downsized out of a job, which is not such bad news...is actually the inspiration for the move we're considering to London.

We want to see more of the world, enjoy other cultures, travel throughout Europe over the next couple years before children enter the picture.

So...what we're looking for is any advice you can offer to help make this crazy dream a little more concrete. Some questions that are popping into our heads, for starters, are:

How easy is it to get a job BEFORE moving to London?

Where, oh where, should we consider living (letting) in London (keeping in mind, we like the arts, conversion buildings are cool, won't have a car so MUST be near tube)?

Is it possible to find a safe, nice, furnished 1 (ideally 2) bedroom flat for 1000 pounds/month with easy transport to downtown?

What expenses should we expect in addition to rent (utilities, etc)?

Any Web sites you'd recommend?

What questions SHOULD we be asking?

Thank you so much for any info you can share. In exchange, we'd be glad to offer any advice on Toronto living, to those interested...May even have a deal on a downtown apartment if all goes as planned!
clgarbas is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 10:40 AM
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1000GBP is 250GBP per week, for that amount you would be lucky to get a well located studio flat, or perhaps a two bed in a very poor location and state of repair.

Cost of living will be much much higher than Toronto. Council taxes are high, and on the up. Water rates, electricity and phone bills I'm sure are more expensive than in Toronto.

As for the job situation, unless you are currently with an international firm who will offer you employment in their London offices. If you have good university education, or are in the medical profession it may be hard to find well paid employment.

Perhaps, if possible you could organise employment before the transition then maybe a mortgage, although I think you will be best suited to stay in Toronto, realistically speaking. If you had some capital behind you, say in excess of a quarter of a million GBP you would be able to make a large deposit on an apartment, rather than have to pay an huge mortgage.

Good luck, and I hope some other people can offer you more advice.
m_kingdom is offline  
Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 10:53 AM
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Ben Haines apart, most of us Brits don't do charm. Understanding that is the real key to living here.

If you can get citizenship of an EU country, the next bit doesn't apply
Otherwise. you need to start at the UK highly skilled migrant programme (http://www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk/def...sp?PageId=2757).

With a degree and a few years' professional experience, you can get a visa that allows to to work here (though the system is struggling to process applications right now).

Otherwise, you need to find an employer who'll swear you have skills that can't be found among the 400 and odd million people of the 30 or so countries in the EEA (25-member EU plus a few).Few will. Illegal employment is just not an option.

Unemployment in the UK is just about the lowest in the rich world, and declining. Depending on your skills, getting a job shouldn't be your problem.

Realistic cost-of-living expectations will be. For £1000 a month you can get a 1 or 2 bedroom flat. Safety is rarely a meaningful issue in London. You're highly unlikely to find a flat anywhere with a high risk of mugging or physical attack, but burglary is a near-certainty wherever you live (burglars generally hate robbing a house with people in at the time. We've only once been burgled while we were in the house. London burglars are almost always reluctant to engage in physical assault of any sort). There is absolutely nowhere in London that is not prone to burglary.

The problem at £1000 a month is that the (at that price dismal, though these days generally clean-ish) flat is likely to be a 10-15 minute from the tube in a part of London that would depress most of us, and a further 30 mins from central London.

You really have, IMHO, to expect to pay a considerable amount more, or look to living somewhere else
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 11:32 AM
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Perhaps I can provide a little perspective. An acquaintance of mine married her British boyfriend and moved to London about a year ago. She came back recenlty for a visit and I got the lowdown from her (I always thought it would be fun to live in London.) She did not have a problem getting a job once she got there (she has very specific sklls) but she said salaries/finances are a real issue. Compared to New York (which I know is much more expensive than Toronto - but at least some persepective) salaries are quite low (at leasat 1/3 less for the same job - although she said a lot less work is required) but the cost of almost everything is very high. She said any appliance/ household goods (linens etc) are almost double what they are in the US. Also, food (from the supermarket) is VERY expensive - in the absolute - not just comparatively. As for the real estate market she said the prices are comparable to New York - which means a 1-bedroom apartment is a middle class area not TOO far from the center would start at about US$2500 per month (unfurnished). (Oh, and she said kitchens are tiny and usually don't have full-size appliances - but tiny versions of everything - like boat refrigerators.) If you want more info perhaps you can search for London rental properties on-line - I'm sure someone here on the board can suggest some likely neighborhoods.

Hope this helps provide some perspective.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 01:15 PM
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There's a new UK work visa program for well-educated Americans making more than $50k a year--not sure if it applies to Canadians as well.

I don't have details, but you'll be able to get some info on it at www.americanexpats.co.uk.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 01:29 PM
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Ann41:

There's no programme for well-educated Americans. To have one, absent a reciprocal programme by the US, is clearly impossible.

There is, however, a programme for any Highly Skilled Migrants, of any nationality. Canadians, just like Americans, Indians or Chinese, may apply.

See my reference above.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 02:00 PM
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Another possibility is the UK Right of Abode, for which Canadians may be eligible. Canadians can get this if one or both parents are British (being born in Canada to a British parent does NOT necessarily give you the right to a British passport). With the UK Right of Abode stamp in your Canadian passport you have the same rights as a UK citizen to apply for any job in the UK. (My husband has this, which is why we are moving to the UK; even though his mother is British, he would NOT have been eligible for the Right of Abode if he'd been born in the US; the country of birth has to be Commonwealth). A Canadian with the Right of Abode who resides in the UK for a certain amount of time can then apply for a British passport, which opens up all of the EU. If only one of you has the Right of Abode the other can get permanent residence through other methods (spousal visa), but the right to work bit then is trickier.
All that said, London has a lot of drawbacks--salaries are surprisingly low, housing costs high and often of somewhat questionable quality...have you considered starting your UK life in another city? Newcastle? Birmingham? York? None of those offer all that London does, of course, but you may find other aspects of them appealing.
We STRONGLY suggest you contact a legal professional who specializes in immigration because it's very easy to make a mistake that could thwart your plans. While getting his Right of Abode stamp, my husband saw how some other applicants (in different circumstances) were asked seemingly innocent questions that ended up with being denied the right to long term residency in the UK. Once you've been rejected, it's much harder to get the decision changed. Better to have a professional help you get things right the first time around.
Keep your fingers crossed. Despite all the dire predictions about getting a work permit, in the last three years, companies in Belgium and Switzerland were able to get me work permits, even though I'm American.
Anyway, here is one possible source of help:
http://www.webbimmigration.com/uk_re...p_overview.htm
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 02:01 PM
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Hi there - congrats on your recent marriage for a start! (I'm due to be wed in July this year, following my future husbands mumbled proposal in Milan this year!)

This may seem a bit obvious, but have you considered a holiday to London and the rest of England just to get a feel of the place? You may not like the reality once you have been there, or you may feel the opposite! Good luck whatever you choose.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 02:05 PM
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All this "romance", and sweet sentiment, how nauseating. Please pass me a bucket, much obliged.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 02:57 PM
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I think m_kingdom didn't read the title of the post. It said "would LOVE input from charming Brits". I'm not sure why he bothered to post, since he certainly doesn't fit into the "charming" category.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 03:04 PM
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Patrick, I was thinking the same thing myself, however, I am charming when asked sensible questions, such as this one which is so utterly relevant to this forum. I dislike ones asking "what should I wear?". People with such insecurites as clothing should never be allowed to travel. These people wishing to relocate to another place are willing to toss their whole security and way of life aside, slightly more important and far more interesting than "should i pack a wool or down coat?" Let's prioritise here, perhaps Fodors would like to start a separate fashion forum to be inhabited by always out of vogue wannabe fashionistas?
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 04:08 PM
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To be honest, m_kingdom I read your first reply to this question and found it amazingly civil, (how unlike you) but wondered why you had to return to your "nasty" old self for your second post. I didn't find anything that called for the "bucket" as you put it. I missed the part where it turned into a debate on what to wear, I guess, so I didn't get your "nauseating" comments.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 04:39 PM
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m_kingdom, you can always opt NOT to answer.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 04:41 PM
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Brim -- that was some of the best advice given to anyone lately. LOL
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 04:42 PM
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 04:50 PM
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I apologise on behalf of all otherwise charming Brits
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 04:57 PM
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I assume the 'pass the bucket' comment was directed at me for giving my congrats to a newly wed couple. What a sad and lonely person, one who cannot be happy for someone else.

I think he doesnt like me (ahhh, how awful) because I picked up on his spelling when he posted an obnoxious reply a few days ago. (By the way, Kingdom, what exactly is 'insecurites'? go back to school or grow up
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 05:24 PM
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EnglishOne, don't take it personally. From m_kingdom's posts on this board, I don't think he likes anyone.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 05:26 PM
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And we've diverted the message from the original topic so let's get back to it. clarbas, I wish you well and hope you can figure out how to accomplish it. Sounds like a dream come true to me and something I'd like to try someday if I could take care of family responsibilities.
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Old Feb 22nd, 2004, 05:28 PM
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Carol, he's a sad case isn't he? He (or is it she?) is what we would call over here, a w*nker!!
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