Things Sri Lankans need to know before moving to the UK

Things Sri Lankans need to know before moving to the UK

Each year people from all over the world move to the UK. The United Kingdom (UK) is a country with a strong economy, high quality of life and a place full of opportunities.

There is a large community of Sri Lankans already living in the UK and the number keeps adding each year. Many Sri Lankans move to the UK for studies, work or as permanent residence to reunite with their families who are already living in the UK or start a brand new life in a totally new country as an individual or as a family. According to Wikipedia 84500 Sri Lankan migrants were living in London itself in the year 2011. After moving to UK, they usually send money to Sri Lanka from UK to support their families living back in their motherland.

These numbers keep growing and especially due to the country's present financial crisis more and more Sri Lankans have started leaving their motherland hoping for a quality life for them and their children. Among them many have chosen the UK for their higher studies, immigration, starting up a business, to investments or obtaining a job. Whatever the visa category you have in hand there are few important things a Sri Lankan should know before moving to this highly developed nation.

Immigration Laws and Visa

As Sri Lankans we must have a visa to enter the UK. No matter what kind of visa (student, work, start up, family) you have granted with there are strict conditions that apply to each visa category. It is vital to keep all your documentation and relevant fees in order before heading to your flight.

Gather all the information before preparing the documentation and fees to have a clear idea on the process. Remember immigration laws are very strict in the UK and violating one may cost your visa. Study all the UK immigration restrictions before entering the country.


Whatever the reason you are planning to move to the UK it is always important to have a British bank account to settle your bills, receive your salary, and to gain local bank cards in order to pay for products and services. Using international debit or credit cards can be expensive in the UK.

So for the long run you will need a local bank card. Opening a bank account for non-British is somehow not easy but by providing proper documentation and valid identification it can be done from any bank branch, through a bank website or even by using the bank's mobile app.

Receiving a debit or credit card from a bank can make your purchasing easier while properly maintaining a credit card gives you the opportunity to enhance the credit balance of the card and later the chance of applying for bigger loans specially for housing.

Transferring Money

Whether you are moving in as a student or to work you may need to send money online or even receive. This can be done through a bank and it can be costly and time taking. Bank transfers may require a bank account, personal identification and many other documents ahead of your transfer.

So it is important to research all the available options in the UK for international money transfers. Few Sri Lankan banks are operating branches in the UK and you can inquire with these banks in Sri Lanka how their transaction fees and exchange rates before reaching the UK.

There are many money transfer services in the UK that provide the service of sending or receiving cash from Sri Lanka. These service providers may offer a better exchange rate, low transaction fees and a speedy transfer. They may not request much documentation work too.

Online transactions are also available through certain money transferring apps and make sure to find the suitable trustworthy service provider. Do your own research before landing in the UK, ask your friends or relatives who are already in the UK, find out a list of service providers and go through their web pages and specially on their customer reviews.

Also find out about the maximum limit you can send at once or receive. Are there any country specific regulations and get a general idea about the currency exchange rates.


As in many other countries the UK also has a national tax system which all citizens may require to pay. It will be helpful for you to know about the areas you need to pay taxes when living in the UK and a rough calculation of the total amount before entering the country.

For example, if you are planning to work in the UK you need to pay an income tax and if you are going to work for a private sector your income tax will be deducted from the monthly salary.


Finding a place to live is going to be one of the biggest challenges you need to face when relocating. It is important to study the rental charges, property prices in different areas of the UK before moving and to decide which area best suits you.

If you are planning to move with your family, you need to consider schooling and transportation when finding a home or an apartment. Properties in cities like London will be more expensive than in the countryside.

Many real estate companies have listed their properties in their webpages and it’s easy to check these sites before entering the country and decide on your property. If you are coming to the UK for further studies, you can contact your university to get more details about the accommodation available near the university.

To rent a property in the UK you may need to provide proof of income and employment. Mortgage is the most common way to purchase a house in the UK.

National Insurance


If you are planning to start working in the UK, you need to contribute to the National Insurance every month. It will enable you to enjoy some benefits such as jobseeker's allowance, maternity leave and pension credit.

You will need to apply for a National Insurance Number before starting working in the UK, so it's always better to apply for yours as soon as you arrive.

Other Benefits

There are some benefits that you can enjoy as a resident in the UK. All permanent residents are granted free health care through the National Health Service (NHS) but you need to start contributing to National Insurance and income tax to enjoy this benefit. All children aged between 5-16 years are entitled for free place at a state school.

There is a very good public transportation system in the UK. If you are arriving as a student, you can get discounts over the public transport by providing your student identification.

It is a great opportunity to get to live in a well-developed country like the UK. Moving to Britain can give you many benefits and could be the best life decision you have taken.

To successfully settle down in a new country it is important to do your homework, budget and research before landing. This way you can be well prepared for the new country's weather, language, finances and many other day to day activities.