The UK is one of the top working holiday destinations for Australians and Kiwis for many reasons. There are excellent work opportunities, people to meet, cities to explore, trips to take and a great lifestyle to be had, but to really enjoy all there is on offer, you want to make sure your transition from the Southern Hemisphere to the UK goes as smoothly as possible. Read our UK Working Holiday Guide to be successful in your move.
When To Leave
There isn’t really a bad time to fly to the UK. It does cost more to travel to the UK during their summer and of course, Christmas, but you’ll find lots of job opportunities during the summer and the festive period as this is when many people take their holidays for the year.
One thing to keep in mind is that the flight to the UK is a great opportunity for a stopover – and we’re not talking six hours in Dubai airport. Explore parts of Asia for a week or two or Interail through Europe on your way to the UK before arriving in the capital, London.
Get Your Visa
You won’t be able to go on a UK Working Holiday without getting a UK Working Holiday visa, otherwise known as the Tier 5 (Youth Mobility Scheme) Visa. This allows you to travel and work in the UK for up to two years, and is only available to 18-30 year olds from certain countries including Australia and New Zealand.
Being from Australia or New Zealand, you may have an ancestor (grandparent) who is/was British, and if so, you can apply for the UK Ancestry Visa, which allows you to work up to five years in the UK and apply for permanent residency.
You might have intentions to make some money while in the UK, but you need a certain amount before you can even get to the country. A minimum of £1890 in savings is required if you’re travelling on the UK Working Holiday Visa to prove you can provide for yourself before finding work. Find out more about the Tier 5 Visa here
Setting Up A Bank Account
Of course, you need somewhere to put your money and access it whilst in the UK. Popular UK banks include HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Barclays and Natwest. Setting up a bank account can be difficult because of the identification required – utility bills, bank references and a previous landlord reference – but you can set up your account before you leave if you’re travelling on a package trip e.g. Thomas Cook, or with STA Travel.
Buy Travel Passes
As a visitor to London, you can take advantage of discounts at hostels, eateries, attractions and on transport. The International Youth Travel Card has exclusive offers and discounts in over 133 countries around the world for anyone under the age of 31 and are just £12 to buy here.
If you’re using public transport in London, you should check out the rates for Visitor Oyster Cards and Travelcards, which make it much easier to travel around the city – or even easier – simply use your contactless bank card on trains and buses within the designated zones. You can even use your phone and store your tickets digitally for journeys outside of London.
Your accommodation really depends on what kind of experience you want. If you’re travelling on your own, you might prefer the social aspect of a hostel – even if you’re travelling with someone else, it’s a good way to meet people and more often than not there are private rooms available. If travelling in a group, using platforms such as AirBnB will not only offer you more space just for you and your friends but could also work out cheaper per person per night. Similarly for longer stays it’s well worth looking into a house or flat share using a website such as www.spareroom.co.uk
Remember that, as a working holiday maker, you can get tax back on certain things you spend your money on while working. Keep receipts for your expenses and if at any point you think you’re paying too much tax, get in touch with us at email@example.com
Claim a PAYE tax refund