Local Support Directory

Hong Kong Welcome Page

Housing

Looking for somewhere to live?

If you’re looking for a place to live, the best person to help you is an estate agent. Choose a local one if you know where you want to live. Choose a national one if you are not yet decided. Most estate agents cover sales and lettings and advertise their properties on national property websites such as RightMove or On the Market

www.shelter.org.uk   has excellent information about all aspects of housing and homelessness

Renting

There are advantages to renting. You can test out if the area is right for you without committing a large financial amount. Your landlord will be responsible for fixing the property when things go wrong. You can often move in to an available property at short notice. Find out more information here about how to find a property, questions to ask your landlord or letting agent, the checks your landlord will make and the documents you will need

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-a-home

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-rent/how-to-rent-the-checklist-for-renting-in-england

https://england.shelter.org.uk/housing_advice/private_renting

Letter from Secretary of state for housing, communities and local government to confirm legal status (to show to Landlords and Letting agents)

https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/1000386/27.05.2021_Letter_from_MHCLG_SoS_to_Private_Rented_Sector_organisations.pdf

Find out about your rights if you rent from a private landlord here

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/renting-a-home/renting-from-a-private-landlord/

Find out about repairs in rented housing here

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/repairs-in-rented-housing/repairs-what-are-your-options-if-you-are-a-private-rented-tenant/

 

Buying

The main advantages to buying are the stability and the investment. But you will need to show paperwork at the point of offer to prove you have the financial means to proceed. If you are new to the UK it may be hard to access finance until you have established a credit rating. Expect the process to take several months. You can find out more about buying a home and home improvements here

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/housing/moving-and-improving-your-home/

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-buy-a-home/how-to-buy

If you need a tradesman to help with repairs you can use one of the following online directories to help find someone suitable. It is often a good idea to also ask friends and neighbours for recommendations.

https://www.checkatrade.com/

https://www.ratedpeople.com/

https://www.trustatrader.com/

https://www.mybuilder.com/

Employment

Finding work in the UK

Looking for a job in a new country can be daunting but there are many opportunities. All BN(O) status holders have the right to study and work in the UK.

National Insurance

The first thing you need to do is apply for a National Insurance (NI) number. National Insurance is the UK’s social security system, including the state pension scheme.

You can apply online, or you can call the National Insurance application line on 0800 141 2075 and ask for an application form. When you receive the form, you will have to return it with proof of identity, and proof of your right to work in the UK. It can then take up to 16 weeks to receive your National Insurance number.

If you already have a job offer, you can start work before you receive the NI number, but you should apply as soon as possible.

For more information about applying for a NI number

https://www.gov.uk/apply-national-insurance-number

For more information about your rights at work including: basic rights and contracts, pay, holidays, sick pay and parental rights

https://www.citizensadvice.org.uk/work/rights-at-work/

 Looking for a job

There are many ways to search for jobs. The UK Government has a ‘Find a Job’ service where you can search for different types of job in different areas of the country.

https://www.gov.uk/find-a-job

National newspapers such as The TimesThe Guardian and The Telegraph also have recruitment sections, especially for professional and graduate jobs.

Make sure your CV is up-to-date and prepared in the UK style. There’s a useful guide here about writing a British style CV.

https://www.expatica.com/uk/working/finding-a-job/cv-interview-tips-uk-103183/

Qualifications

To find out how your professional qualifications compare or can be transferred to the UK, check the UK national agency for qualifications and skills website  https://www.enic.org.uk/

Depending on your professional field, you can apply for a Statement of Comparability, which you can use to show employers how your qualifications compare to the UK equivalents. This costs around £49.50 + VAT

Income Tax

How much Income Tax you pay in each tax year depends on:

  • how much of your income is above your Personal Allowance
  • how much of your income falls within each tax band

In most jobs, tax and National Insurance contributions are paid through your employer. This is called Pay As You Earn (PAYE). If you are self-employed, you will need to pay your income tax directly.

Find out more about the tax system here

https://www.gov.uk/income-tax-rates

Connections

Local Social Media

To find out more about what is happening in your local area, connect with neighbours and ask for help about where to find things in your local community, you can join and/or use the following sites.

https://www.facebook.com/groups/StAlbansMums

https://www.facebook.com/groups/allthingsstalbans

https://nextdoor.co.uk/

https://www.facebook.com/groups/HarpendenMums

https://www.facebook.com/groups/harpendentoddlernetwork

https://www.mumsguideto.co.uk/harpenden/

https://www.mumsguideto.co.uk/st-albans/

 

Information about living in the local area and the UK

If you would like to explore your local area or venture further afield in the UK, you can find some useful information about where to go and what to see on these sites.

https://www.expatica.com/uk/

https://www.enjoystalbans.com/

https://www.harpenden.gov.uk/

https://www.stalbans.gov.uk/

https://www.visitengland.com/

https://www.stalbanstourguides.co.uk/