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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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.

Countdown To A UK Relocation (2-4 Weeks Before)

This is the second edition in our ‘Countdown To A UK Relocation’ series, which aims to tackle the actions that need to be considered for a successful relocation. This week we look at the various tasks that should be considered in the month before the move takes place. Moving to a new country can involve a great deal of processes, but with good preparation any potential stress can be minimised.

Whilst the following list isn’t exhaustive, it should provide some ideas to help with planning a future relocation:

  • Take a ruthless walk through the house to determine what you really want to take.
  • Clearly label items – e.g. ‘left in house’, ‘put into storage’, ‘take to the UK’.
  • Have a clear-out. Hold a garage sale or call a charity for pick-up.
  • Clean out club, gym and school lockers.
  • Arrange for the disconnection or changeover of utilities.
  • Begin packing less-used items. Number and label each box and keep an inventory.
  • Retrieve and return all borrowed items from neighbours & friends; return library books.
  • Pick up all dry cleaning, pictures at framers, etc.
  • Clean out food cupboards. Don’t buy any more food than you have to.

The Relocation Consultancy are experts in destination services and provide a range of options to support UK moves. 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 A Place In A UK State 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. The chosen house and neighbourhood will be most likely determined by the location of the school selected. Starting your planning early can help you to make well-informed choices and give you the best chance of securing a place at your selected school.

The UK is notoriously complex in its education, because of the variety of types of organisation that can be involved. Whilst the fee-paying sector is significant and may be perceived as providing a better education, this is not always necessarily the case.

With State Schools you will have to live within a ‘catchment zone’ before you can even apply to the school. Most good state schools are extremely oversubscribed, so you cannot always rely on a place being available, particularly if you are coming to the UK at short notice, or for a shorter assignment. Places are in the first instance offered based on who lives closest to the school.

Local authorities coordinate the admissions process for all children starting school at the beginning of a school year (in September). You can apply for a place at state schools online or by using the local authority’s common application form (you can find out your local authority here). The deadline for applications is normally October for entry in the following September, with places being allotted at the beginning of the following year. If you require your child to start at any other time in the year, you will more than likely be referred to the local authority.

Church schools have their own admittance criteria – i.e. ‘practicing a religion’ may be a requirement, or at least improve your chances of obtaining a place.

Checklist for deciding on a state school

  • Find out which schools in your area have places (a list can be obtained from your local authority).
  • Read relevant school prospectuses and/or websites.
  • Compare achievement and attainment data and the latest school reports from Ofsted.
  • Find out the catchment area for the school(s) you are interested – these are usually made up of a list of roads (this can usually be found on school websites).
  • Find out the specific admission procedure – this can vary from school to school.
  • Find out what extended services they offer outside of normal working hours (e.g. breakfast clubs, after school activities) and what they cost.
  • Visit the school to make sure that it really does suit your child’s needs (and take along a pen and paper to make notes). A school visit can be invaluable in giving 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. It is also an opportunity to find out detailed information on admissions, work out possible travel routes and find out about any parent associations you may like to get involved in.
  • Meet all stated deadlines for submission of paperwork, or you will have little (or no) chance of securing a place.

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.

Countdown To A UK Relocation (2 months +)

Moving to a new country can involve a great deal of processes, but with good preparation any potential stress can be minimised. The planning process should begin at least two months prior to your move. Indeed, if you need to move pets or you require a visa, you will need to start the processes at least 6 months before your actual move. Delays in getting visas will certainly result in delays in being able to relocate, which can result in more upheaval and expense. Only when you have confirmation of the visa, can you start to firmly plan your relocation. Additionally, it is worth looking into the personal tax implications of your move as early as possible.

Whilst the following list isn’t exhaustive, it should provide some ideas to help with planning a future relocation:

  • Review your relocation package if you have one, and determine what expenses will be paid by your company (e.g. removals costs, storage, property management in home country, transfer of pets, rental, schooling costs, trips home, relocation package and support). Ask them to explain fully if there are any issues you are not clear on.
  • Check your passport is up-to-date and has more than 6 months left on it.
  • Check on progress of visa application process.
  • If you own your property and wish to rent it out whilst you are away, decide whether to do this privately or through rental agents, and begin the process.
  • Decide whether you will be taking all your furniture with you or leaving some in the property or in storage. Get written and complete estimates from 2 or 3 moving companies or storage companies. Purchase additional insurance if necessary.
    Choose what will be sea freight and what will be air freight – such as important documents, some toys, clothes, etc.
  • Change your insurance policies on your property, either for tenants or if left empty.
  • Start a log of moving expense receipts (some may be tax deductible).
  • Arrange transport services for pets or automobiles or other large items if needed.
  • Contact your bank and arrange transfer of your accounts; clean out your safety deposit box, if any.
  • Submit change-of-address forms to the post office to re-direct your mail. We suggest you use your working address in the UK as the forwarding address.
  • Give school / nursery proper notice of withdrawal (and any intention to return). Arrange for transfer of student records and up-to-date school reports, in English. Have multiple copies made. Some schools require reports for the previous 3 years. Get copies of other certificates, such as music, sport, etc.
  • Contact your doctor for copies of medical records. Check any medical cover is valid for as soon as you arrive in new location.
  • Organise all important documents in a fire-safe box. E.g. school records, home purchase/sale papers, Wills, marriage/divorce papers, pet documents, financial records, stock certificates, social security cards, birth certificates and copies of passports and visas. Keep these with you as air-freight or luggage.
  • Give notice of resignation to any clubs, organisations or volunteer activities you belong to.
  • Cancel newspaper subscriptions.
  • Arrange for hotels, rental cars or temporary housing as needed in the home AND host country.

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