GUIDE TO THE UNITED KINGDOM
& DEPARTING -
NON UK RESIDENCE GUIDE back
Your UK entry point is most likely
to be London . Before you touch down in the capital, ask your
travel agent or check on your ticket which airport you will
arrive at. London has five airports - so in terms of working out
how to get to where you want to go, or if you're getting
friends, family or a consultant from Caterer Recruitment to meet
you, this can be useful information to know. Please note that
the following information is subject to change.
There are four terminals. Where you land or depart from depends
on the airline and the destination. On the Underground train
Heathrow is located in zone six and is on the Piccadilly line.
The Heathrow Express train ( www.heathrowexpress.co.uk
0845-600 1515) travels to and from Paddington station
every 15 minutes. National Express coaches (www.nationalexpress.com
; 0870-5747 777) run a direct service to and from London 's
Victoria station but can be expensive. If you want to get to or
from there cheaply but not necessarily quickly, get an Oyster
Card and put a few extra pounds on there as pay as you go and
hey presto, you are done.
Gatwick Express ( www.gatwickexpress.co.uk
1515) trains run every 15 minutes and take about 30 minutes
to reach London 's Victoria station. A cheaper option is
Southern trains (www.southernrailway.com
The Thameslink service ( www.thameslink.co.uk
) runs to
King's Cross, Farringdon, City, Blackfriars and London Bridge
Situated 56km from central London , you can reach Stansted via a
45-minute train ride from Liverpool Street station on the
Stansted Express ( www.stansteadexpress.co.uk
; 0845-600 1515).
Trains depart every 15-30 minutes. National Express (www.nationalexpress.com
7777) runs coach services to and from Victoria coach station
every 15-30 minutes. Easybus also run services to and from
) and usually take just
over an hour and offer cheap tickets.
Thameslink trains ( www.thameslink.co.uk
) cover the
51km trip from central London in about 35 minutes, departing
from King's Cross station. Otherwise, board a Greenline coach (
www.greenline.co.uk ; 0870-608
7261). In London , they stop at Brent Cross, Finchley Road
Station, Baker Street , Marble Arch and Victoria.
London City Airport
From Canning Town , Canary Wharf (on both the Underground
Jubilee Line and the Docklands Light Rail system) and Liverpool
Street tube stations, you can get a shuttlebus. The journey
takes 10-30 minutes.
Other major airports:
Birmingham International Airport
Manchester International Airport
Check out The Complete UK and
Ireland Airport Guide at www.a2bairports.com
While we'd all love to be welcomed
into Britain with a cup of tea and a slice of cake, your first
experience of the UK is more likely to be a stony-faced customs
officer asking you lots of questions. But don't worry, if your
visa is in check, you have savings, an idea of what you'll do as
a job and somewhere to stay, they should stamp your passport to
validate your visa and let you go merrily on your way.
- NON UK RESIDENCE GUIDE back
a London A-Z street directory (available at all good
newsagents); most Londoners have one, so you won't look like a
in a good pair of walking shoes as you're going to be legging it
about London . In between your urban treks, though, you've got a
few options for getting to where you want to be.
Spanning 12 miles and made up of 12 colour-coded lines, the
London Underground (aka the tube) is the world's oldest (1863)
subterranean transport system. It will seem every bit its age,
too, when your train stops mid-journey or you're left waiting on
a platform (on average, there are four breakdowns an hour).
Having said that, when it's running smoothly, the tube is
usually the quickest and easiest way to get from A to B in
cost of your ticket depends on the number of travel zones (there
are six) you're going to cross. A Travelcard allows you to
travel on all modes of transport ó tube, bus, the Docklands
Light Railway (DLR) and overland trains ó within the zones
selected. Daily, weekly, monthly or annual Travelcards are
available. If you're staying long-term, you may want to get an
Oyster Card, a pre-pay system which saves you having to buy
Travelcards. For more information and fares, see the Transport
for London website.
The red bus network is cheaper, but often slower, than the tube
or train. Routes reach every corner of the capital. Night buses
ó with the letter ĎN' before the route number ó run all
night. See the Transport for London website.
Black cabs: They're as famous as London's red buses, but these
days they don't only come in the black variety. You can hail
them on the street ó if the light is on, they're available.
They're pricey, but can seat up to five people. To book, call
020-7286 0286 or see www.londonblackcabs.co.uk
Call the Public Carriage Office on 0845-602 7000 for queries.
These are ordinary, unmetered cars which operate as taxis.
London Transport has numbers for licensed minicab firms. Book by
phone or in person from the company's offices which are located
all over the city. It's illegal for minicab drivers to pick up
passengers on the street. Fares should be agreed in advance and
are usually cheaper than black cabs. There are many unlicensed
ó and illegal ó taxis operating in London. Use them at your
own risk. Last year, 140 women were sexually assaulted by
illegal minicab drivers.
Take to the water for a different view of the city. There are
several boat services running regularly up and down the length
of the Thames in London. See www.londontransport.co.uk/river
For an informative guide to all modes of transport in the
capital, contact Transport for London (www.tfl.gov.uk;
ACCOMMODATION - NON UK
RESIDENCE GUIDE back
it comes to accommodation in London, Antipodeans and South
Africans tend to head west (Hammersmith, Fulham, Shepherdís
Bush, Acton), north (Kilburn, Willesden, Dollis Hill) or south
(Clapham, Fulham, Southfields).
further out you live, the cheaper it is, but it costs more to
A popular choice with new arrivals is Ďdossingí. This involves
sleeping on a friendís couch or floor for a minimal fee until
you find a job and get on your feet ó or outstay your welcome.
The dossing fee generally goes towards household bills.
Many welcome long-term guests and some include breakfast. Weekly
rates range from £70 to £200. Hostel tenants can often pick up
work in the hostel, which typically comes with cheaper rent. Just
ask at reception.
share: If you donít mind sharing a room in a house with anything
between six and 20 people, you can get by on as little as £40-£60
a week for rent.
share: For your own room in a small household, budget for upwards
of £120 per week. In general, though, youíre probably looking
at around £80-£100 per week for rent. When you move in, youíll
usually be expected to pay at least one monthís rent as a
security deposit and your first monthís rent upfront. Itís
illegal for a landlord to charge more than two monthsí rent for
solo: You can get a bed-sit (a self-contained room with a small
kitchenette in a house with a shared bathroom) from about £80 a
week. Hot water and gas will usually be included in the rent,
while electricity is often paid through a coin meter. For £100
upwards, you can get a studio, which includes a kitchenette and
your own bathroom.
Ask at pubs to see if they have any rooms. Sometimes you can get a
job and a home in one, and the deal may also include meals and
Itís not illegal, but breaking and entering is. Contact the
Advisory Service for Squatters www.squat.freeserve.co.uk
0845-644 5814) and request their handbook.
Check whether the quoted price of rent includes bills. If not,
youíre up for another £20-£30 per month for gas and
electricity (depending on how many people youíre sharing with).
Gas, in particular, can be expensive, especially in winter, as
most internal heating runs on gas. Then thereís council tax. The
amount you pay is determined by the area in which youíre living
(some councils charge more than others); and the value of the
property. The average cost is around £30 per month, but it could
be anything from £17-£65 a month. Council tax is higher in the
Leases typically run for
six or 12 months. Read the small print to be sure of what you are
and arenít responsible for. Whoever signs the lease is
responsible for the rent and leases can be difficult to get out of
early. If youíre leaving, itís best to find a new flat mate to
take your place on the lease.
flats and houses generally come with basic furniture and you
should be asked to sign an inventory list which details the
complete household contents and any existing marks and defects (if
not, create one yourself and post a copy to your landlord/ agent).
Complete this thoroughly to avoid being charged for pre-existing
damage when you leave. Most landlords will require proof of your
employment; some will ask for bank references and letters from
previous landlords are helpful.
Hostels: There are six YHA hostels in London ó Earlís Court,
St Pancras International, Oxford Street, Holland House, St Pauls
and Thames side. Prices start at £25 a night. Call 0870-770 6113
or see www.yha.org.uk. Also try Piccadilly Backpackers www.piccadillyhotel.net
020-7434 9009) and The Generator (www.generatorhostels.com;
Renting: You can also check out the Loot newspaper ( www.loot.com
for shared houses, flats and houses.
Housing law in Britain is complicated, but you can get free legal
advice from a Citizenís Advice Bureau (www.nacab.org.uk
If you choose to use a letting agency, beware of unscrupulous
agents and exorbitant fees. Wherever possible, use an agency that
has signed up with the National Approved Letting Scheme www.nalscheme.co.uk
01242-581 712). Agents belonging to this scheme have agreed to
follow set industry standards. The laws are complex, but as a rule
itís illegal for an agency to request payment for:
- Putting your name on their list or taking your details;
- Providing a list of rental properties.
For more information, see www.adviceguide.org.uk
BANK ACCOUNTS - NON UK
RESIDENCE GUIDE back
notoriously difficult to open an account in the UK. To save
yourself some headaches, try to organise an account before you
leave home. Itís worth checking whether your home bank has an
affiliation with a UK bank as this can speed up the process once
you get to the UK. If youíre going to be working for an agency,
they can often help you open an account.
you do put off this task until you arrive in London, good luck ó
one bank branch may issue you an account on the spot, while
another will mess you around. Get together as much documentation
as possible, including proof of ID (passport, driverís license
and/or birth certificate) and evidence of your UK address (a
utility bill or lease with your name on it should suffice, but not
always). Itís also worth bringing a letter from your bank at
home as record of your credit history, and a letter from your
agency or employer in the UK. The more documentation you have, the
easier your application should be.
companies like 1st Contact ( www.1stcontact.com
) will help
you get the show on the road for a small fee. This is a great way
of doing it because they already have established ties with
several major banks and can cut through all the rubbish.
between banks vary, so shop around. You should, however, be able
to open an account within a week. There are several types of
accounts, rates and charges. Switch or Solo are similar to Ethos.
You may also be offered a Cirrus/Maestro ATM card that can be used
banks wonít issue credit cards unless you have a long and
reliable credit or savings record in the country. If you need a
credit card to survive, itís best to bring a MasterCard or Visa
card from home. If things get really tight, you should be able to
get an overdraft, although the interest rates can be high ó so
beware of going too far into debt.
major UK banks are Lloyds TSB (www.lloydsstb.com
( www.barclays.co.uk ), NatWest (www.natwest.co.uk
Royal Bank of Scotland (www.rbs.co.uk
) and HSBC (www.hsbc.co.uk
Also try building societies, as they may have better rates. Visit www.switchwithwhich.co.uk
for a useful guide to all the bank and building society accounts
on the market. Opening hours for UK banks are typically 9.30am to
4.30pm Monday to Friday. Some open on Saturday mornings.
VISAS - NON UK
RESIDENCE GUIDE back
In line with the
requirements of the United Kingdom Asylum & Immigration Act
1996, all applicants must be eligible to live and work in the UK.
For more information see www.ind.homeoffice.gov.uk
Documented evidence of the eligibility will be required from
candidates as part of the recruitment process.
The Australian Department
of Immigration handles visas and immigration - the website is
a great resource and easy to use.
of Employment manages the recognition of your qualifications -
'Head Chef' is on their list of skills required and the website
has plenty of information about how they assess skills.