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The United Kingdom is a popular choice for many Japanese nationals with its high-quality education system and work opportunities. If you’re thinking about relocating to the United Kingdom from Japan, there are certain things you should know from the start. In this guide, we’ve gathered all the essential requirements and steps that expats must follow while moving to the UK. Here you’ll be able to explore the information on the following topics.

  • Do your Research
  • Applying for the Visa
  • Shipping Your Belongings
  • Managing your Finances
  • Health & Welfare Facilities
  • Accommodation
  • Job Opportunities
  • Improve Language Skills

A Brief Introduction to the United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is actually four countries, England, Scotland, Northern Island, and Wales, sharing one government. The United Kingdom as we see it today was the outcome of several centuries of old alliances and Subjugations. All cities in the UK have their own distinct feel. London is popular as a thriving global city, and the most desirable destination for expats from Japan tend to settle in the UK. Edinburg, Belfast, Cardiff, and Manchester are also hugely popular.

OCECD Better Life Index ranked living standards in the UK above average in terms of environmental quality, personal security, health status, social networks, job prospects, and learning.

The United Kingdom is 16.9% more expensive than in Japan. The cost of living in Tokyo is almost 19% cheaper as compared to London. The cost of living in the South of the UK is much more expensive than in the north.

The food in the UK can be affordable if you shop smartly. Adli and Lidl stock caters towards the low end of the market, whereas, for high-budget shoppers, Sainsbury and Waitrose offer products at other end of the scale. The middle range markets such as Asda, Morrisons, and Tesco also offer reasonable deals.

UK’s tax system for expats is straightforward and depends on your tax residency status and individual circumstances. The UK has a double-taxation agreement with more than 130 countries including Japan.

However, a report from InterNations cites many downsides to life as an expat in the UK, including the high cost of living, unfriendly locals, and monotonous weather.

Checklist for Moving to the UK from Japan

1.  Do your Research

While preparing to move to UK, there is a lot of research and preparation you need to do in advance to make the transition smooth and stress-free. One of the most crucial things is to know about the society, culture and how the country works. Lifestyle and culture vary greatly around the UK. It’s advisable to do your complete research about the country and people to fit better with local culture and traditions.

2.  Applying for the Visa

Whether you are planning to move from Japan to the UK for study, work, or business reasons, it’s important to jump through the UK’s immigration requirements to find out which visa applies to you and your family and your specific situation. The Visa applications and processes have different requirements, lengths, and costs depending upon the origin of your country, the duration of the stay, and your job. You can apply for work-permit and employment-based Visas, family Visa, and Business Visa.

3.  Shipping Your Belongings

Moving your personal belongings from Japan to the UK can seem like a confusing business. If you’re moving from Japan to the UK with your family, using a relocation specialist would be a good idea to make sure your treasured belongings arrive safely. That’s the most convenient way of sending your items to the UK, and they’ll even help you through the immigration process. Make sure to check out this amazing relocation service from Japan to the UK to receive your possessions even quicker.

  4.  Financial Management

In order to support yourself and your family in the UK, it’s important to get your finances in order. From short-term money needs to long-term financial management, plan everything in advance. Research your banking options, insurance options, pension system, tax system, and international money transfer options before you arrive.

5.  Accommodation

The UK offers something to suit all tastes when it comes to finding a place to live. From townhouses to rural cottages, everything has its unique energy and personality. You can find a range of housing options in all price brackets.

6.  Health & Welfare Facilities

Before moving to the UK, make sure that you and your family have the right health cover in place. You’ll be qualified for free healthcare from National Health Service (NHS) if you’re permanently moving to the UK. There is private health insurance in the UK as well, which offers quick access to specialists, shorter waiting times, and better facilities.

7.  Job Opportunities

Most of the expats already have a job offer lined up before moving to the UK from Japan, however, if that’s not the case for you, you’ll have to go on a job-hunting mission. The UK has abundant job opportunities for expats. There are many job websites to browse thousands of full and part-time jobs or if you want to browse jobs in person, there are job centers located throughout the UK.

8.  Improve Language Skills

English is the UK’s official language and Japanese mostly struggle, when it comes to speaking English. If you’re planning to work in the UK, then you might have to work on improving your English language proficiency. Sign up for the English course that suits your needs and brush up your language skills.