Top 10 things you need to know about working in the UK

Thinking about studying in the UK? The United Kingdom is a great place to study due to its world-class universities, diverse culture and fascinating history. But if you want to spend your spare days sightseeing, you’re going to need that bit of extra cash.

Finding temporary work in the UK is relatively straightforward and part time jobs in hospitality, retail and call centers aren’t too hard to come by. You might even be able to secure a job in your preferred subject area.

So, if you’re thinking about moving to and working in the UK, read the top things you need to know about securing work, earning money and paying taxes.

1) Make sure you have the right to work

Most employers will check that you are eligible to work in the UK before they take you on, so ensure you obtain a work visa along with your study visa. You need to apply for a Tier 5 Temporary Worker visa 3 months before you’re due to arrive in the UK.

2) Get a National Insurance number

You will need a National Insurance number in order to work in the UK. It is like a personal account number that is used for the tax system. You’ll only be able to get a national insurance number once you’re in the UK by calling the National Insurance number application line.

3) Create a CV in a UK format

A CV is a document or media file that summarizes your experiences, skills and education, and shows a potential employer whether you’re suitable for employment. It is important to style it in the established format so it’s easy for an employer to read and understand. Your university will have a Career and Advice center that can help you structure and write your CV.

4) Write a unique cover letter

It is likely that they’ll be several applicants for each job, so you need to stand out from the crowd with an enthusiastic cover letter that is tailored to the specific job you’re applying for. It should demonstrate knowledge of the company and show how you intend to apply your skills and experience to the role they are offering.

5) Know what you should be paid by law

The UK operates a minimum hourly rate, so if you are 18 to 20, you can be expecting to be paid £5.30 per hour. For 21 to 24-year-olds, the national minimum wage is £6.70 per hour and if you’re 25 or older, you are entitled to the national living wage, which is £7.20 per hour. You will usually be paid via bank transfer, but some smaller employers may pay you in cash.

6) Learn about your payslip

Depending on the company, you may be paid weekly, fortnightly or monthly. With each payment, you will receive a document that shows how much you have been paid for that period and the tax and insurance that has been deducted. Make sure you keep these slips in a safe place for future reference.

7) Get an idea about taxes

If you are earning more than £155 a week, you will make a contribution to National Insurance from your salary, which is currently 12% of your earnings. You only start paying tax when you earn over the personal allowance, which for the year 2016-2017 is £11,000.

8) Understand the tax year

The UK tax year starts on the 6 April every year. Shortly after this date you will receive a P60 End of Year certificate, which is a document that shows all of your earnings and deductions for the year. It is important to hold on to this document, as you might need it in the future.

9) Avoid being out of pocket

If your employer doesn’t know your tax code, which tells him or her what tax you should pay, you might have to pay an emergency tax of 20%. This is likely to exceed what you should be paying and you should receive this money back either during the tax year or afterwards, providing HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC), who are the government body responsible for collecting taxes, have looked at your case.

10) Discover what to do if you’re taxed wrongly

Sometimes HMRC might not get round to reviewing your taxes, and in this case, you need to make a claim to get the money back. You can work out how much you’re owed using a tax calculator. You can make a claim by contacting HMRC directly or you can use a Tax Rebate Service, who will advise you and fill all the paperwork out for you.

Good luck with your move to the UK, we wish you enjoyable studies and unforgettable experiences.