Immigration Changes Benefit Intra-Company Transfers To The UK

The UK Border Agency has announced a number of changes to UK immigration rules, intended to benefit both International students and businesses. They will come into effect from 6th April 2013. The changes aim to create greater flexibility and ensure that the best and brightest talent can come to the UK to work, study and invest in business.

The changes outlined included:

  • Tier 2, to improve the flexibility for intra-company transferees and for employers carrying out the resident labour market test.
  • The Tier 1 (Graduate entrepreneur) route, to include additional places for talented MBA graduates from UK Higher Education Institutions (HEIs). This will also include the UK Trade and Investment’s elite global graduate entrepreneur scheme.
  • Tier 4, to allow completing PhD students to stay in the UK for one year beyond the end of their course to find skilled work or to set up as an entrepreneur.
  • The Tier 1 (Exceptional talent) route, to split the application process so that applicants will no longer have to pay the full fee up front. This will also mean applicants will not have to submit their passport to them while their application for endorsement by a designated competent body is being considered.
  • The shortage occupation list and the codes of practice for skilled workers.

Businesses will benefit, with Intra-Company Transferees (ICT) who are paid more than £152,100 no longer having to take an English test if they want to extend their leave in the UK. The amount of documents ICTs must provide in order to show  they have worked for their company for over a year are also being reduced.

Additionally, skilled staff working in the UK and paid more than £152,100 will no longer have to wait 12 months before taking up a new post, improving businesses’ ability to recruit the very best global talent.

Immigration Minister, Mark Harper, commented that ‘We are lowering administrative burdens on employers and giving greater flexibility to those senior executives and elite graduates who want to work and study here.’

The written ministerial statement can found on the Home Office website. Further information on the changes to Tier 4 and Tier 1 can be accessed at the UK Border Agency website.

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families moving to the UK. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com. Alternately, you can find out more about our services at http://www.therelocationconsultancy.com/relocation-services

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Valentine’s Day In The UK

Anthropomorphic Valentine, circa 1950–1960

Anthropomorphic Valentine, circa 1950–1960 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Do you celebrate Valentine’s Day in your country? In the UK it’s the most romantic day of the year. Celebrated on February 14th each year, Valentine’s Day is the traditional day on which people express their love for each other by sending cards, flowers, chocolates or other romantic gifts.

Origins Of Valentine’s Day

Valentine’s Day has been linked to both the pagan festival of Lupercalia, and Christianity.

Lupercalia was a very ancient, Roman pastoral festival, observed from February 13th-15th, which aimed to avert evil spirits and purify the city, releasing health and fertility. This was achieved by the young men stripping naked and using goat- or dog-skin whips to spank the backsides of young women!

In Christian history, there are at least three Saint Valentines who are associated with 14th February. Most experts believe the actual one remembered on Valentine’s Day was a Christian known as Valentine of Terni, who was martyred in the reign of Emperor Aurelian for refusing to give up Christianity. According to legend, he died on 14th February, but that may have been a later embellishment.

Some time around AD 496, the Pope Gelasius declared 14th February to be Saint Valentine’s Day, a Christian feast day. This was likely to have been a simple merging of the pagan and Christian festivals.

What Happens On Valentine’s Day In The UK?

Each year in the UK, we spend around £880m on cards, flowers, chocolates and other gifts for Valentine’s Day. Traditionally these were sent anonymously, but nowadays we often make it clear who is sending each ‘Valentine’:

Cards

  • Sending a written Valentine’s message to a loved one is a custom that began in the 1400’s, though cards have only been mass-produced since the 1800’s.
  • Couples give cards to each other, but it is also traditional to send an anonymous card to anyone you secretly love.
  • Valentine’s cards sometimes feature a poem. Probably the most famous lines from a Valentine’s Day poem are: ‘Roses are red, violets are blue, Sugar is sweet, and so are you.’
  • Many people now send e-cards, rather than printed greeting cards.

Mobile Love

  • Valentine’s Day text messages include:
    • WUBMV – will you be my Valentine
    • xoxoxoxoxo – hugs and kisses
    • LUWAM<3 – love you with all my heart
    • ImRdy4Luv – I’m ready for love
    • :’-) – I’m so happy, I’m crying
    • ILUVU – I love you

Gifts

  • Traditionally, people give a gift to their loved one on Valentine’s Day.
  • Popular choices include: red roses, chocolates, a CD of romantic songs, jewellery, a photo frame or perfume.
  • More expensive choices might include: a helicopter flight, a balloon ride, a weekend away or a visit to a spa.

Valentine’s Day Superstitions & Traditions

There are many traditions and superstitions associated with romantic activities on Valentine’s Day, including:

  • If the names of all a girl’s suitors were written on paper and wrapped in clay and the clay put into water, the piece that rose to the surface first would contain the name of her husband-to-be
  • The first man an unmarried woman saw on 14th February would be her future husband
  • If a woman saw a robin flying overhead on Valentine’s Day, it meant she would marry a sailor; if she saw a sparrow, she would marry a poor man and be very happy; if she saw a goldfinch, she would marry a rich person.
  • In the Middle Ages, young men and women drew names/favours from a bowl to see who their Valentine would be. They would wear these favours on their sleeves for one week. This is where the phrase ‘to wear one’s heart on one’s sleeve’ is thought to have come from.
  • In Wales, wooden love spoons were carved and given as gifts on February 14th. Hearts, keys and keyholes were favourite decorations on the spoons. The decoration meant, ‘you unlock my heart’

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families moving to the UK. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com.

Securing Your Property Over Christmas

With only a few weeks to go until Christmas, and with the first signs of snow appearing to the north of the UK, now is the time to consider your obligations as a tenant when it comes to taking care of your rental property if you are planning on going away during this period.

There are a number of steps that can be taken to ensure there are no unwanted surprises when you return to your rental property after leaving it for a prolonged period during cold weather:

1. Check your Tenancy Agreement

It is worth re-reading your Tenancy Agreement to confirm exactly what you are responsible for during cold weather, and, when leaving the property vacant.

For example, your Agreement is likely to state that you need to “take all reasonable precautions” to prevent damage by frost to pipes, to prevent the build up of condensation, and to keep gutters and drains free from obstruction.

It is also usual for the Agreement to state that you will need to notify the landlord/agent before leaving the premises vacant for any continuous period of 28 days or more during the Tenancy. Consequently, if you are planning to be away for a number of weeks over the festive season, it is important you check your specific obligations within your own tenancy contract.

2. Prepare the property well

A lot of problems can be prevented by simple preparations before you leave. For example, turning off electrical devices at the wall can prevent possible electrical fires, and, emptying fridges and freezers before your departure can prevent the growth of some of the more nasty bacteria that could make you and your family rather ill! It is worth walking around the inside and outside of the property and dealing with anything that might lead to a problem – look in particular for leaks/damp patches, a buildup of leaves in gutters, loose wires, dripping taps, etc.

3. Leave contact details with a neighbour

If you know and trust a neighbour, it would be worth leaving a spare key and your contact details with them, and asking them to keep an eye on the property whilst you are away. Another option might be to leave your contact number with the property’s managing agent or landlord. If something does happen, at least you should then hear about it straight away and be able to take the necessary measures to sort the problem out efficiently.

If your road is part of a Neighbourhood Watch scheme, it is worth joining it, and informing your neighbourhood contact that you will be going away. Details about the scheme and a vast amount of useful information about securing your home from burglary can be found at http://www.ourwatch.org.uk/.

4. Keep heating on or drain the system

If it is possible, and suitable for your property, it would be wise to keep the heating on at a low level whilst you are away. By keeping the heating on, the pipes won’t be able to freeze and any damp should be minimised. If you have a loft, keeping the hatch open a small amount will allow the warmer air to circulate around the tank.

If you are unable to leave the heating on, it could be advisable to employ a qualified tradesman to turn your water off and drain the system completely.

5. Secure the property

Before you leave, ensure all windows and doors are closed securely, and locked where possible. Timer switches can be a good idea when used with a light or radio, as they can give the impression that people are in the property and help to deter opportunist thieves. If there is a burglar alarm, ensure it is set correctly on your departure. Leave a contact telephone number discretely next to the alarm keypad – that way, if there is a break-in, the police will be able to contact you immediately to inform you.

Further tips to secure your property can be found at the Crimestoppers website (http://www.crimestoppers-uk.org/crime-prevention/helping-prevent-crime).

If your Tenancy Agreement was arranged by TRC and you have specific questions about your own agreement in regards to this issue, please do get in contact.

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families moving to the UK. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com.

Livinko Relocation Services Join Relolink

TRC would like to welcome Livinko Relocation Services, who have just joined Relolink, providing destination services in South Korea.

Their friendly and skilled relocation specialists provide comprehensive support whenever and wherever clients need it. Livinko want their clients to feel excited about their journey to Korea and to feel welcome, happy, and secure once they arrive. To do this, Livinko have built a business that focuses wholly on client satisfaction, through continuous improvement and by offering a broad selection of innovative services.

For a limited time only, The Relocation Consultancy Ltd are offering all new Relolink clients 10% off our management fee. Simply state the code RELO10 at the time of your booking. Call on +44(0)118 947 0029 or email info@relolink.co.uk for more information.

High Integrity Relocation Services

The Relocation Consultancy Limited (TRC) have been in operation for more than 25 years, and have remained true to our core values throughout. We believe that one of the most important values we have is our integrity. Creating an open and honest dialogue with our clients helps us to understand their requirements better, meaning that we genuinely understand all their needs. This in turn leads to better long-term working relationships, which are beneficial to all concerned.

We continue to provide complete transparency in relation to our fees. Prices for all our packages are regularly reviewed to ensure they are competitive, and, unlike many other companies, we ensure our clients are only charged for the hours actually spent facilitating their staff moves. All our packages can be broken down into their component parts, ensuring our clients always get a fully tailored, relevant service for their assignees.

Additionally, whilst many companies in this industry bolster their fees by taking commissions/referral fees from third party providers, we seek to gain the best possible prices for our clients. Instead of taking referrals, we always request that any such payments are converted into discounts and applied to client invoices. By doing this, we are able to keep external fees at very competitive rates.

But it’s not just about having integrity with our prices – this value entwines every element of our business – particularly in regards to the relationships we build with assignees and their families. Our ‘high touch’ services ensure that those relocating remain at the centre of all we do, at every stage of the process. Like a good friend, we ensure we are on hand whenever needed, to give them the friendly, personal attention they so rightly deserve. But don’t just take our word for it – some recent comments from assignees we have relocated include:

“Jenny & her team genuinely cared about making our move as painless as possible. Moving 4 kids half way around the world, this was very much appreciated – Thank you & well done!”

“Your proactive service was greatly appreciated. You guys were always one step ahead of our needs and this level of service is rare.”

“Overall – fantastic help and TRC have helped to make our relocation as smooth as we could have hoped! Thank you!”

“TRC did a good job of matching us with a consultant that took the time to get to know us and our needs. She had great local knowledge and seemed to genuinely care about finding a property that we would be happy with.”

“Thank you and well done. Your work made a stressful move (4 kids and 16 years in previous location) much easier.”

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families moving to the UK. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com.

Relolink Launches Today!

The Relocation Consultancy (TRC) are proud to announce that we are launching our international relocation management division TODAY.

To celebrate Relolink’s launch, we are offering all new corporate clients a 10% DISCOUNT on our relocation management fee. Simply quote RELO10 when you get in contact with us.

About Relolink:

The core aim of Relolink is to simplify processes for UK Client Companies who wish to send staff on assignment to offices that are based outside of the UK. Relolink will provide relocation management services to the Client Company, so they only ever have to deal with one contact, one language and one time-zone.

The division will support those moving from the UK to destinations worldwide, via a network of business alliances, to a wide range of countries including France, Germany, Spain, Portugal, Belgium, Switzerland, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, Czech Republic, Ukraine, India, China, Philippines, the USA, Canada, Mexico, Kingdom Of Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Russia, Australia, Indonesia and New Zealand.

Relolink will provide Client Companies with access to some of the most highly regarded local destination providers worldwide, chosen because they already adhere to the highest standards of service. In addition to this, membership of Relolink requires that service providers follow a set of key performance indicators and best practice guidelines. To ensure service levels are maintained at the highest levels, their performance will be monitored via Relolink’s ‘International Relocation Survey’, which assignees will be requested to complete after their move.

Furthermore, to ensure consistency of services worldwide, Relolink have created a selection of six ‘easy-buy’ packages at preferential rates, which every Relolink member will provide, no matter what country they are in. These cover the most commonly required services – area orientations, accompanied rental viewings and support securing school places.

To complement this exemplary destination services offering, Relolink has joined forces with providers of other crucial services, such as furniture removals, visas, HR services and cultural training, all of which are integrated fully into the relocation process.

To find out more about Relolink, and to qualify for your 10% discount, get in contact with TRC on +44(0)118 947 0029 or info@relolink.co.uk.

Securing A Place In A UK Independent School

If you have children, it is important to begin addressing the issue of schooling prior to your departure, to ensure you and your family settle well at your destination.

Independent schools are fee paying schools. They can be single-sex or co-educational, start at any age between 4 and 18 years, can be day or boarding schools, large or small. They are independent in their finances and governance. They are funded by a combination of tuition charges, gifts and investments and are generally governed by a board of directors. All schools are registered and monitored by inspectorates approved by the Secretary of State and Ofsted.

For UK Independent Schooling, entrance is not restricted by where you live, unlike state schools.
Usually an interview is held, but if coming from abroad, this may not be necessary. There may be an academic assessment, particularly to those schools which perform particularly well at GCSE or A level. For entrance to senior schools there is usually an assessment, but this can simply be for ‘streaming’ purposes. Some schools look for high attainment in a particular area, such as sport, music, drama and/or art, while others simply want you to feel comfortable, and like the feel of the school.

Points to consider:

  • If there are places available and where you want to live.
  • Whether you can afford the fees. Costs vary dramatically from school to school and will increase as the child moves through the school. Boarding school fees can be considerably higher than the day fees (by more than 30%). School fees are typically lower in the North and for prep schools.
  • The environment you would like for your child(ren) e.g. single sex or co-educational,  religious affiliation, large or small school.
  • What the facilities are like for sports, music, drama, etc., and what the educational standard is.
  • What are the age ranges for the school? (i.e. a school that goes from 4-18 could be an excellent option to prevent having to move a child again during an assignment)
  • What is the family background / culture of pupils? (e.g. are there many expatriates / any children from the same country as you?)
  • What is the level of parental involvement? (e.g. is there a Parent/Teacher association to support the school)
  • What is your instinct about the school? How well did you get on with the staff?

Checklist for making an application:

  • Find out the specific admission procedure, as this can vary dramatically from school to school. Look at the websites and contact the school registrars directly by telephone – they are remarkable people who are always happy to give you an insight into the school.
  • A visit to the school is invaluable to make sure that it suits your child’s needs. They vary enormously and each has its own personality. A visit will give you (and your child) a proper feel for the school – how welcoming they are, what the facilities are like, what the teaching style is like and so on.
  • Meet all stated deadlines for submission of paperwork. Ensure the timeliness, completeness and accuracy of your admission document(s), or you may jeopardise your chance of securing a place.
  • Be prepared to compromise – the best private schools become very oversubscribed and can be difficult to get into. Independent schools offer a very good education, with the vast majority of pupils getting excellent examination results.

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support families needing school places for their children. For a FREE consultation on the services that may be suitable for you, call +44 (0)118 947 0029 or email info@therelocationconsultancy.com.