5 top tips for New Zealand expats in the UK

From finding an affordable flat through to working out alternative routes when your train is cancelled, dealing with the quirks of life in the UK tends to come with experience.



For newcomers though, it helps to have a heads-up on some of the easy-to-overlook aspects of UK living. Here are five tips for New Zealand expats to be aware of.

Always budget for travel before making any decisions on property

Especially in London – and to a lesser extent in all major UK cities, commuting woes are a staple of office conversation.

There’s something to be learned here – especially if you are considering moving from a centrally-located house share to your own place a little further out; always do your homework on transport links before signing the lease. Be especially careful to budget for any increase in monthly or season rail ticket prices if moving several zones out.

Tenants: make sure you have original visa documents to hand…

As from February 2016, landlords or lettings agents must now carry out a ‘right to rent’ check before starting a private tenancy. In simple terms, this means that before signing your lease, you will be asked to produce your original passport and all relevant visa documents. The landlord will need to take copies of these documents.

If you cannot produce originals, the landlord or letting agent will need to carry out a ‘right to rent check’ with the Home Office – and for this you will need your Home Office reference number. The letting agent can actually charge you for carrying out this check – so it’s worth having your visa documents to hand to save on unnecessary hassle.

It’s worth registering to vote

As citizens of a Commonwealth country, New Zealanders have the right to register to vote in UK local and national elections. Even if you have no interest in politics, registering to vote can make good practical sense.

An electoral roll check is used by credit agencies and various service providers to verify identity and address details in order to combat fraud; so registering to vote can make life easier for things like opening a bank account, getting insurance and applying for loans and credit deals on new purchases.

Don’t get short-changed on the minimum wage

This can be especially relevant to New Zealanders who intend to combine studies with part-time work. Did you know, for instance, that if you are 25 or older, you are entitled to the National Living Wage (currently £7.20 and due to increase to £7.50 in April 2017)? Workers younger than this are entitled to the National Minimum Wage, with higher rates applicable to 21-24 year olds compared to 18-20 year-olds. Read up on current applicable rates to ensure you don’t get short-changed when taking on casual work.

IPMI can mean one less thing to worry about

The ‘free at the point of delivery’ element of the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) can be wonderful. But no national healthcare system is without its faults – and that goes for the NHS as well; especially when it comes to wait times for routine procedures.

For expats, International Private Medical Insurance (IPMI) can help ensure you and your family access the treatment you need – when you need it. Its portable and flexible nature also means that it can fill in the gaps in existing company coverage while providing the protection you need if seconded abroad.

For a quote and to find out more about how UK-based New Zealanders can benefit from IPMI, visit www.cignaglobal.com.