What are the aspects to consider if you are thinking to move to London with a family?
HOW TO MOVE TO LONDON WITH A FAMILY: LIVING
Currently, in order to live and work in England, you need an ID (for European people) and the NIN, the National Insurance Number. For people outside the EU passport is still required.
My advice is to look for a house as far as you arrive in order to have a permanent address, because a proof of address is necessary for almost everything.
In order to open a bank account, you have to provide (which may be the electricity or water utilities, the TV license or the Council tax, (that is the only one to pay to the Council where you leave) or the National Insurance Number.
In order to apply for the GP, which is a clinic with many different doctors, you need to show the bank account or one of the above-mentioned proofs of address.
Renting a flat or a house in London can be very expensive and it absorbs most of your monthly budget.
HOW TO MOVE TO LONDON WITH A FAMILY: WORKING
If you have a degree and right to work in the UK, and if you are looking for a good position, it’s not so easy to find the dream job. It takes time, as your English must be very good and you have to be very skilled in your field. In the UK there’s a high competition.
In order to work, it is essential to have the National Insurance number (NI) – a sort of English tax code. However, you can have access to the national health care even if you don’t have it yet.
You can only apply for it once you’re in the UK. You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number.
You can start work before your National Insurance number arrives if you can prove you can work in the UK (you are from the EU and prove you can work in the UK (check on this for all the information). You should tell your employer that you’ve applied for one, and give it to them when you have it.
You can only get the NI with an interview through one of the Jobcentres where you’ll be asked about your circumstances and why you need a National Insurance number.
The letter will also tell you which documents to bring to prove your identity, such as passport or identity card residence permit
British Citizenship: you can apply only if you have been living in the UK for at least 5 years and you need to pass an exam that evaluates your knowledge of English history and culture.
HOW TO MOVE TO LONDON WITH A FAMILY: SEARCHING HOME
London is massive. I lived in Paris (which is not exactly small…) but it is nothing compared to the largeness of London. You mostly live in your borough, so it is essential to choose it well and consider the commuting to work.
Choosing the borough is not easy: once you have established your budget and the area considering the commuting, you can take into account schools, safety and parks. If you like travelling, you might also consider the transfer to the airports. West Hampstead is great for that.
What are the most family-friendly areas of London? Generally, West London is the most recommended if you are looking for a quiet life, with good parks. In this area, I can mention Kensington, Chiswick, Hammersmith, and Ealing.
In South London, the most recommended boroughs for families are Sutton, Richmond, Dulwich, and Wandsworth
In North London, West Hampstead and Muswell Hill.
Besides, I suggest considering the schools. Each school is given a score from Ofsted, and it is public. Once identified a property, I recommend also to check if you are in the catchment area of a good school.
HOW TO MOVE TO LONDON WITH A FAMILY: THE COST OF CHILDCARE
In England, there are no public nurseries. Up to three years there are only private nurseries and the cost for a full time is very high: around 1200-1300 £ a month are the cheapest solutions. The UK Government supports families with low incomes (but really low ones!), granting 15 hours’ free childcare per week for two years old.
In the best case, you will pay the whole amount till the age of three. When your child will be three, you are eligible to have 15 hours per week by the Government. However, you don’t pay 15 hours less, you have actually a discount on your monthly fee.
What are the alternatives?
Many moms don’t work or have part-time solutions or arrange with grandparents. Other options are the childminders, that are usually less expensive than a nursery, and the babysitters, that cost £10 per hour excluding taxes.
When a child is three years old, he can go to the preschool, but generally, they have reduced time (9-12.30), and if you are an expat without grandparents, it is a little difficult to consider, unless you have a babysitter.
So till the beginning of the school with the Reception, the costs of childcare is expensive.