Moving to UK from Sri Lanka - Starter Guide

Moving to UK from Sri Lanka - Starter Guide

With the ongoing economic crisis in Sri Lanka many expats have started leaving the country to have a better living standard for them and for their children. Others are sending their kids to developed countries for their higher education. Ongoing economic and political unrest has increased the country's migration levels drastically and it has already started affecting many sectors with skill labor shortage.

The United Kingdom has become one of the best choices among many Sri Lankan's to migrate, work or study. For decades Sri Lankan's were traveling to the UK and due to this reason there is a large Sri Lankan community already living in the UK. The UK is a country with many opportunities for the Sri Lankan's along with a high standard of education and health care.

The United Kingdom’s strong economy and the direct link to Europe gives many employment opportunities for migrants. The diverse landscapes, pleasant weather and vibrant culture makes time spent in the UK a life changing experience.

There are a lot to consider before moving to a new country. Obtaining a visa to enter the UK will not be an easy task and due to the recent Brexit there may be changes in visa processes. The most important thing is to obtain a valid visa and to get one you should carefully go through the UK immigration information and decide on which type of visa you are eligible to apply for.

This can be done by yourself or through a visa consultant. Once you have decided the visa category, you can apply for a visa by submitting your visa application along with all the required documentation. Once the visa is granted the biggest part of your migration process is done and you have become one of the lucky people to get to move to the UK to Sri Lanka.

Whether you are joining with your family, starting a new business, taking up a skilled work or continuing your studies you should know that the UK is comparatively an expensive country to live. London or the capital is costly to live in compared to the other cities in the UK. For example, in greater London the monthly average rent is around 1,700 GBP (2,200 USD). Here is some basic information that will help a starter to settle in the UK easily.

Climate and Language

The main language in the United Kingdom is English. So as Sri Lankan's learn English as second language from preschool level and it will be very convenient for the Sri Lankan people to adjust to the new environment as we can freely communicate with native speakers to find out any information and make new friends.

England has a rich culture dating back to British emperors. Many castles and palaces are still found around the country. The country’s climate is temperate meaning cool and wet winters plus warm and wet summers. Good news is that the climate rarely reaches its extremes. As tropical islanders it may take a while for the Sri Lankan's to adjust for the winters but with proper clothing and facilities it will not be a difficult task.

Documentation and packing

Once you have set up a date to fly it is important to have a check list of documents you need to carry to the UK. If you are flying with your family make sure the documentation for each person is packed safely before leaving.

This documentation may include educational qualifications, identifications, kids school leaving certificates and banking and other financial documents. It is important to have these documents translated to English if they are from another language.

Certain certificates need to be authenticated by the relevant authorities. Information on the validity of your documents can be obtained by the UK embassy website or from the UK immigration website. For example, certificates issued by schools for the GCE O/L and GCE A/L’s exams are not considered as valid documents in other countries.

All Sri Lankan's should recollect these certificates from the Ministry of education to make them valid in other countries including the UK. Also keeping your marriage and birth certificates translated to English is important.

Moving to the UK is not easy as we pack our households and shift to a new house a few cities away in our country. But with proper planning and knowledge this is not going to be a hard job.

Packing things to take along with you to the UK becomes more complicated if you are planning to migrate with your family. Remember most of your households can be shipped but always find out the shipping cost along with taxes and compare the cost with that household’s.

Are they worth paying that much before packing them? Most of the electronics and furniture may not be useful in your new location and those items will consume lots of space in storing. Some of the wooden furniture in Sri Lanka may not withstand the cold climate specially during the winter and may tend to crack and break.

On the other hand, there is no need to pack all your old clothes as you may require more new warm clothes that you can purchase once you arrive. Downsizing your belongings to be shipped may not only save money on shipping but also be easier when moving to a new home in the UK. If you are a student or a skill worker planning to move to the UK, the best tip is to carry less clothes back from home and buy the rest according to your requirements from the UK.

Also there are some shops run by the Sri Lankan's in many parts of the UK that offer a range of authentic Sri Lankan items such as spice mixtures, herbal products and even some households. So once you get familiar with the location you may be able to find one of these Sri Lankan stores to get the consumer products you were comfortable with using for years. There are even some Sri Lankan restaurants that serve authentic Sri Lankan dishes in the UK.

If you are thinking of taking your much loved pet dog or cat along with you, the easiest way is to consult a pet relocation service provider locally and get all the necessary, work done. It is mandatory to microchip your pet before on boarding and now many veterinary hospitals in Sri Lanka offer this service.

Finding Accommodation

If you are migrating best is to decide on an area you want to settle and look for housing options available in that location. Picking an area or city may differ according to your personal requirements like traveling, schooling, shopping etc.

The UK housing prices are relatively high but there are many options like modern apartments, classic Victorian terraced houses, and warehouse spaces to choose from. If you are a student fining a hostel or shared accommodation close to your educational institution may save lots of your time and cost on traveling.

Decide on a budget you can effort on housing, choose the best city for you and then start looking for a house even before moving to the country by browsing the property websites online. You can even book your accommodation online before landing to the UK.

Health insurance and Health care system

The country’s National Healthcare System (NHS) is recognized as one of the best in the world. As a UK resident you will be entitled to all the services provided by the NHS and it will reduce the health care costs to a minimum.

However, there may be long wait lists for specialists or for non-emergency surgery. If you decide to get a private medical insurance, you will have faster access to specialists, better facilities, and reduced wait times.

Banking and Finance

As soon as you are granted with a visa to UK it is best you think about how you are going to manage your finances in UK. It is not a must to open a bank account in UK but by obtaining a one paying bills and receiving your income becomes easy. Find out the details of UK banks by going through their websites and try opening an account online using their apps.

You can even find some of the Sri Lankan banks having branches in the UK to open an account. HSBC and Bank of Ceylon have branches in the UK. Opening a bank account in UK need certain documents such as a valid passport or driving license and proof of address.

If you do not have a proof of address, try opening an international account which may not require such documents. Major UK banks such as Lloyd's, Barclays, Nat West and HSBC offer this service.

If you are planning to send money back home on regular basis it is best to find a good money transferring service which offers you best exchange rates and low handling fees to send money to Sri Lanka or receive money from Sri Lanka.

Teeparam Exchange is one of the reliable and trusted place to send or receive money from Sri Lanka. They offer best customer care with minimum or no handling fees with best exchange rates. You can get our service by simply visiting their office in 261 LONDON ROAD, ENGLAND, CROYDON or simply downloading their app.

Teeparam also handles a courier service from England to Sri Lanka to send and receive goods from your home country for a reasonable rate and fast delivery. For many years Teeparam has been catering to many Sri Lankan's living in the UK for all their money transfers and couriers back home.

The UK is a multicultural country with great diversity and it will give you a home like feeling no matter what your back ground is or what culture you belongs to. The first few weeks may be the toughest as you may need to adjust for almost everything from finding your transportation options, groceries to kid’s medications. Eventually things will become familiar and life will become easier and smoother in this lively island nation.