The UK officially left the EU in June, but not much has changed yet. EU nationals can still come to live and work in the UK. Sadly, on 1 January 2021 this will change and it will be more difficult to come here to live and work. So, if you're thinking about coming to live and work in the UK, the perfect time is now!
1. Choose a city
Lots of people choose to go where they have friends. Some people go for London for its size or opt for Brighton to be next to the sea. However, we think Edinburgh is the perfect choice!
- The cost of living is much lower than the South of England.
- It's a friendly city and is very welcoming to migrants (three-quarters of Edinburgh voted to stay in the EU).
- Scotland has significantly lower rates of COVID-19 than other parts of the UK.
- It's small enough to get around on foot, but big enough to have lots of things to do.
- It's so beautiful and is surrounded by nature.
2. Decide when to come
To be able to live and work here without any restrictions, you must arrive by 31 December 2020. You might want to wait a little for restrictions around COVID-19 to ease and check that you don't have to self-isolate on arrival. Check the Scottish Government website to know if you have to self-isolate for 14 days on arrival.
3. Find a language school
If you need some more confidence in your English to live and work in the UK, then studying at a language school can help. Make sure you find the right one for you.
- Check school reviews on Facebook and Google.
- If you are in Edinburgh, take a trial class. Some schools will let you take a free trial class to check the course is right for you.
- If you are not in Edinburgh, ask for a Skype chat with a teacher. What kind of activities do they do in the class? If you are going to spend 1000s of Â£ in their school, this is a reasonable request.
- Ask how many years of experience the teachers have
- If you want to work and study at the same time, make sure the school offers a flexible schedule. Can you change from studying full-time to part-time when you get a job? Do the part-time courses let you change your hours if your rota changes?
4. Find somewhere to live
You may be able to get accommodation with a language school initially or use sites like AirBnB or a hotel or hostel. Here are some good options for short-term accommodation. Then, find somewhere to live more permanently. Sharing a flat with people who don't speak your language is a great way to make friends and become more fluent in English. Make sure you ask the right questions - check this guide for more information.
5. Prepare to work
It's a good idea to get a National Insurance Number (NINO) as soon as possible. You don't need one to start work, but it makes things easier. You should also update your CV to make it as attractive to employers and write an effective cover letter. If you're studying with us, we can help you at our free CV Workshop.
EU nationals who arrive in 2020, can live and work in the UK permanently! If you arrive before 31 December 2020 and want to stay after 30 June 2021, the only thing you need to do is complete some forms on the government website. Search "settled status" for more information.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can EU citizens still work in the UK?
Yes! There are no restrictions on working and living in the UK for people arriving in the UK by 31 December 2020.
What happens if I want to arrive in 2021?
The UK government hasn't announced its plans in detail yet. However, it's likely that EU citizens who arrive in the UK on or after 1 January 2021 will need a visa to work in the UK. We don't know how this will work, but the numbers may be limited, you may have to pay, and you may need a job offer or a certain English level to apply.
Can I still access the national health service (NHS)?
Yes! If you arrive by 31 December 2020, you'll be able to work in the UK, use the NHS for free, enrol in education, access public funds such as benefits and pensions, if you're eligible for them and travel in and out of the UK. All you have to do is remember to complete some forms on the government website before 30 June 2021. Search 'settled status' for more information.
To find out how you can combine an English course with a job in the UK, watch the video on our General English page