Living and Working in the UK


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The UK Nursing Homes have always been interested in recruiting overseas nurses. At present they mainly look for EU trained nurses due to the simplified process with the NMC making Nursing in the UK easier than ever.

Getting a Job
Nursing Homes conduct interview and assessment days in other countries quite regularly, we would have a client Nursing Home in Poland once a month.

As mentioned above interviews are normally conducted in Poland and offers made pending your NMC registration and completion of you compliance file for the Nursing Home. If you are working with an agency they should be in a position to advise and assist you everything involved here.

You have arrived in the UK, what next.
When you move to the UK you must apply for a National Insurance number. Your UK National Insurance number is like a personal ID or account number. It is unique to you and you keep the same one all your life. It makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded against your name. It also acts as a reference number when communicating with the UK Department of Work and Pensions and HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC)

You will need a National Insurance Number (NINO) to work in the UK or to claim benefits or tax credits

It is however not mandatory to have a National Insurance number before starting work. But , many employers insist on potential employees producing an NI number before granting them a job.

To start the process you have to telephone Job Centre Plus on 0845 600 0643 (lines are open 8.00 am to 6.00 pm Monday to Friday) . You will possibly have to attend an ‘Evidence of identity’ interview.

You will need to bring some forms of ID with you to prove your identity. (originals, not photocopies)

For example:

  • valid passport (UK or foreign)
  • national identity card (UK or foreign)
  • residence permit or residence card
  • full birth or adoption certificate
  • full marriage or civil partnership certificate
  • driving licence (UK or foreign)

Opening an UK Bank Account
You will have to open a UK bank account once you arrive in Britain. Potential employers will request it also if you are going to do temporary work for a while, the recruitment agencies will also request it.

Lloyds TSB offer a Classic Account with free banking and a Visa debit card that is accepted in thousands of outlets throughout the UK. If you’re new to Lloyds TSB, aged 18 or over and either a UK resident, an EU national OR have permission to stay in the UK for at least 12 months, you can apply for an account online.

You’ll need to have a few bits of information to hand, including your income details, your addresses and postcodes for the last 3 years. More info on Lloyds TSB

HSBC bank provide a passport bank account for those new to the UK for a monthly fee of £8 along with a visa debit and some freebies. There is no need for a permanent UK address. HSBC Passport has an initial fixed term of 12 months and is renewable monthly afterwards. It also provides essential facilities like a 24-hour advice line, easy money transfer, preloaded international SIM card and relocation support in eight languages. You can apply for HSBC Passport online before you leave home.

You will need Photo ID and proof of address in the UK. While EU Citizens don’t need a passport for the UK I would recommend everyone coming over to get one. You will be asked to produce it by the banks, recruitment agencies, mobile phone shops, landlords etc. Proof of address can be tricky for some, if you are staying with friends or relatives you can ask them to put your name on one of the utility bills.

Another way is contact your Bank in your home country and update them with your English address and request a statement to be sent over to you.

Healthcare is the UK is free at the point of access, you do not have to pay for GP visits or hospital treatment under the National Health Service.

If you move to England permanently, or return to live in England permanently, you’re entitled to:

  • free NHS hospital treatment
  • register with a GP
  • emergency NHS treatment

If you lived and worked in the UK previously you will already have been issued an NHS number in which case you should just take it to your nearest medical centre to register with a GP.

Housing and Accommodation
In many cases your new employer will have arranged accommodation for you and in some cases even cover the costs for an agreed fixed period when you first arrive. This is a fantastic option for when you first arrive however we have found that most nurses like to find their own accommodation within the first 3 months.

If you have friends and relatives to stay with you should consider yourself very lucky as Housing and Accommodation cost particularly in London are very expensive with rooms and bed sits starting at around £100 per week and it can cost as much as £200 a week to rent a one bedroom flat depending on where you live. The nearer you are to the city centre the more you will pay likewise the nicer the area the more you will also pay. It is imperative that you bring enough money with you to tide you over for the first few months. is a good website if you want to check out the area you intend to live in.

The best place for sourcing accommodation is shop windows, local newspapers, asking friends or going into estate agents. You will require ID and references from previous landlords if you have previously rented. You will also be required to pay a months’ rent in advance and a months’ deposit up front. A cheaper temporary alternative would be to stay in a hostel.

Mobile Phones
You will need to obtain a UK based mobile phone so employers can contact you. You can get a pay as you go mobile but I found the cost to these to be very high. You can get a SIM only monthly contact from 02 UK or Vodafone UK from as little as £15 per month with so many minutes included to other networks. Bear in mind you will need proof of address and a UK bank account to get a phone contract. You can pick up cheap phones in the UK for as little as £10 or you can get an Irish phone unlocked in the high street for around £5.

When in the UK it is free to receive a call from Ireland to your Irish mobile and if you have a Meteor phone once you are in the UK change the network to T- Mobile to avail of the free calls. If you are phoning home it is best to use Skype or get an international calling card and call from a phone box or land-line.