Many French people cross the English Channel to live in London. Future expatriates have many questions in mind: is it easy to find an apartment in London? What are the rental prices in London? Is it easy to find a job in London?… The answers to these questions about expatriation to London below.
Moving to London: finding an apartment to rent
Rents in London are very expensive and are often payable monthly, although the price is usually indicated by the week. A correct 3-bedroom apartment in zone 2 costs on average £1200 per month (£300/week).
London being a very big city, you can go to zone 3, 4… 6. but don’t forget that, the further away you go, the more expensive the transport ticket is (see transport section).
Some of the most popular neighbourhoods include Hampstead, Little Venice, Notting Hill, Kensington and Chelsea. West London is generally more expensive than east, south or north. On the other hand, the south of the river is cheaper.
To find an apartment, we recommend websites such as moveflat or Gumtree, although the reference on London remains the paper version of Loot (we advise you to buy it at the end or beginning of the week… and especially to be fast).
You will also find many real estate agencies on the internet, see for example the website of net-lettings.co.uk. You will need to provide a month’s deposit and a month’s rent in advance. You will sign a contract for 6 months or 1 year. In the latter case, you can add a “Breaking Clause” that allows you (with one month’s notice) to leave the accommodation earlier than the date specified in the contract. It is recommended to request this option. Otherwise, the landlord may charge every month’s rent due even if you no longer occupy the apartment.
As in all Western cities where the price of rent is at its highest, London is experiencing an ever-increasing increase in the number of shared flats. It’s a very nice way to meet people, learn English, and get accommodation on a smaller budget. While roommates are very common among students, it extends to a new age group of 25-40 years.
Ultimate surprise to pay in addition to the rent… the Council Tax, the amount of which depends on the area in which you live and the size of the apartment and in general it is quite expensive (between £20 and £50 per month).
Finding a job in London
Please note that your CV and cover letter must be typed. The “Professional Experience” section should be developed starting with the most recent. A CV should preferably contain several pages (between 2-3) because employers appreciate the details that are indicated on previous skills and experience.
The national employment agencies are called Job Centres. As a citizen of the European Union, you can consult the documentation and request information. One of the strengths of Job Centres is the touch-screen kiosks that allow you to see what offers are available on the network. It should be noted that unemployment benefits do not allow you to survive (expect about £200 per month for 6 months).
You will find job offers in most newspapers. Among the websites, we can mention jobs.efinancialcareers.co.uk, jobserve.co.uk, jobsites.co.uk, monster.co.uk, …
Once your employment contract has been signed (or with a letter from your future employer), go to the JobCentre, where you will receive your National Insurance Number (NIN). It is used to record your social contributions.
For internships or jobs, you can contact the Charles Péguy Centre (http://www.centrecharlespeguy.co.uk) This French centre is a reference in London.
Living in London: the retirement of expatriates?
Many companies offer a retirement plan. For smaller companies, you will probably have to subscribe to a private retirement savings plan.
In Great Britain, retirement is based on capital investment funds. Your company will give you the choice between several risky plans. A percentage of your salary will be invested (The company will pay a supplement; for example, you give 5% and the company gives you 2-3%). The level of your voluntary contribution may vary over the years.
The normal retirement age is 65.
Good to know: When you work in the European Union and pay social security contributions in the host country, EU social law applies, and you continue to acquire your rights normally in terms of quarters (time) for the general pension scheme.
In addition, to enable French expatriate employees to retain their rights, 3 specialist organisations offer social protection in full continuity with the French schemes. These are the CFE (Caisse des Français de l’Etranger) for sickness, maternity, invalidity, occupational accidents, occupational diseases and old age, the CRE and IRCAFEX for the supplementary pension for expatriates and the GARP for the unemployment insurance of expatriate employees
Living in London: Transport
The city of London is divided into 6 circular areas for public transport. For each area there is a different price. The metro (tube or underground) is a system of 11 lines. It is the oldest metro in the world (1863). The price of a metro ticket is £4 (£1.60 with Oyster card, magnetic subscription card). The bus is of course cheaper, slower, but it allows you to visit London. If you have a car, don’t forget that here we drive on the left side of the road! In addition, in 2005, London introduced a congestion charge of £8 (€12) per day to drive or park a vehicle in the streets of central London (see London Underground map).
Living in London: the climate
Rain is present in London all year round. So, it is not for the sun that we come to London to expatriate! Even the summer is rainy, and according to this site dedicated to the climate in London, only the month of September would be rather “favourable” in terms of climate. You have been warned! Also, worth seeing, the weatherbase site on London.