The UK Tech sector boasts significant strength and prosperity. The COVID-19 pandemic acted as a catalyst for digital transformation, propelling the IT sector to new heights and attracting a growing number of IT professionals to consider about tech relocation to the UK.
Furthermore, the workforce within the UK’s IT, software, and computer services industry has witnessed steady growth over the years, with recent times experiencing an even greater acceleration in its expansion.
First Step: Researching the UK Tech Landscape
The UK is renowned for its thriving tech sector, which has positioned itself as a global hub for innovation and entrepreneurship. The first step in researching the UK tech landscape is to explore the major tech hubs. London, often referred to as “Tech City” or “Silicon Roundabout,” is the epicentre of tech activity in the UK. It boasts a vibrant startup scene, top-notch tech talent, and numerous tech events and networking opportunities. Manchester, in the northwest, is another significant tech hub, known for its digital and creative industries. Edinburgh, in Scotland, is also emerging as a prominent tech hotspot, particularly in areas such as fintech and data science.
Each tech hub has its specialities and focuses. London, being the largest, offers a wide range of tech sectors, including finance technology (fintech), artificial intelligence (AI), cybersecurity, and e-commerce. Manchester excels in software development, gaming, and digital media. Edinburgh, with its strong academic and research institutions, is prominent in data science, life sciences, and software development. Researching these hubs will help you identify the best fit for your business based on industry strengths and opportunities.
In addition to specific cities, it’s essential to stay updated on industry events and conferences happening throughout the UK. Events like London Tech Week, TechCrunch Disrupt, and Web Summit attract influential speakers, industry leaders, and investors from around the world. Participating in these events provides valuable networking opportunities, insights into emerging technologies, and a chance to showcase your business or yourself to a wider audience.
Furthermore, research industry-specific organisations and networks that can facilitate connections and collaborations. TechUK, for example, is a leading industry association that represents tech companies and provides access to a wide range of resources, events, and policy insights. Follow the link to find our overview article about organisations for IT specialists and founders in the UK.
Step 2: Navigating Visa and Immigration Requirements
The visa and immigration processes for relocating to the UK as a tech specialist or tech founder are essential to understand to ensure a smooth transition. The UK offers several visa options designed specifically for individuals in the tech sector. Here is an overview of the visa and immigration processes:
- Skilled Worker Visa:
The Skilled Worker Visa is the most common visa route for skilled professionals, including tech specialists. To be eligible, you must have a job offer from a UK employer with a valid sponsorship license. The employer must also provide a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) to support your visa application. You will need to meet certain requirements, such as demonstrating your English language proficiency and meeting the required skill level for the job.
- Innovator Founder Visa:
The Innovator Founder Visa is designed for tech founders and entrepreneurs who wish to start an innovative business in the UK. To be eligible for the Innovator Founder Visa, applicants must have a unique and innovative business idea that has the potential for growth and success in the UK. They need to secure an endorsement from a UK endorsing body that specialises in entrepreneurship.
- Global Talent Visa:
The Global Talent Visa is aimed at highly skilled individuals in specific fields, including tech, who have exceptional talent or promise. It does not require a job offer or sponsorship but rather focuses on individual achievements and contributions to the tech industry. Tech specialists with significant expertise, recognised awards, or a track record of innovation may qualify for the Global Talent Visa. To demonstrate your experience, you may provide evidence of any legitimate and noteworthy product-oriented digital technology businesses you have founded or served as a senior executive.
If you considering the opportunity of tech immigration to the UK through the UK Innovator Founder Visa or Global Talent Visa, we recommend taking our Pre-Qualified TEST.
This assessment will evaluate your eligibility and likelihood of obtaining an Innovator Founder or Global Talent Visa, providing valuable insights into whether you meet the necessary criteria.
It’s advisable to consult with an immigration lawyer or specialist who can guide you through the application process, ensure you meet all the eligibility criteria, and help you gather the necessary documentation.
Tech Nomads specialises in offering personalised guidance tailored to your specific circumstances and objectives.
Step 3: Establishing a UK Bank Account
For newcomers to the UK, opening a bank account is a prudent step to take. Continuously using foreign debit or credit cards can result in substantial transaction fees, making a local bank account a cost-effective choice. Additionally, having a UK bank account is often necessary for managing bill payments and receiving your salary efficiently.
You have several options for opening a UK bank account, including visiting a bank branch, using the bank’s website, or even utilising the bank’s mobile app in many cases. However, it’s important to note that verifying your identity is a standard requirement, and you will need to provide specific documents, such as:
- Valid Passport
- UK Driving Licence
- Biometric Residence Permit
Furthermore, you will typically be asked to provide proof of your UK address. Accepted documents for address verification commonly include:
- Recent Utility Bill
- Council Tax Bill
- Tenancy Agreement from a Local Council, Solicitor, or Reputable Agency
- Benefits Entitlement Letter
It’s crucial to be aware that the verification requirements may vary among different banks. Therefore, it is advisable to thoroughly understand the specific stipulations of each bank before applying for an account.
UK Tech Relocation. Settling into a New Place: Our Tips for a Smooth Transition
When it comes to settling into a new place, the process involves more than just legal considerations. It also encompasses aspects related to behavioral psychology. To help you navigate this transition, we have gathered top tips from individuals who have been living in the UK for a considerable period of time.
- Conduct Research and Reconnaissance:
Before making the move, take the time to thoroughly research and familiarise yourself with the place you plan to relocate to. If possible, visit the area as a tourist, but try to avoid solely visiting tourist hotspots. Instead, aim to immerse yourself in the local culture and gain a deeper understanding of how the locals live.
- Embrace Diversity:
When settling into a new place, it’s important to surround yourself with people from different nationalities and backgrounds. Avoid limiting your circle of friends solely to individuals from your home country. Embracing diversity will provide you with a broader perspective, enrich your cultural experience, and facilitate integration into the local community.
- Learn the Language:
Even if you were not required to take a language test when applying for a Global Talent Visa, making an effort to learn the local language is highly beneficial. Acquiring language skills will help you communicate effectively, build connections, and better understand the local culture. It demonstrates a willingness to engage with the community and fosters a sense of belonging.
- Maintain Your Customs, Traditions, and Habits:
While adapting to a new environment, it’s important to stay connected to your roots. Preserve your customs, traditions, and habits that are meaningful to you. Consider bringing along items or mementos that remind you of your home country. These can create a sense of comfort and familiarity, making your new place feel more like home.
Additionally. 5 Things to Know Before Moving to the UK.
1. Prepare for the Witty Banter:
In the UK, a unique sense of humor prevails, often characterised by dry wit, sarcasm, and irony. When interacting with new people in the UK, be ready for a healthy dose of banter and jokes.
Initially, you might find yourself scratching your head, as the humor can be subtle and may go over your head. It’s important to remember that this is a cultural aspect and not a sign of coldness or unfriendliness. In fact, it’s quite the opposite – it’s all part of the fun and camaraderie among Brits.
Don’t be surprised to witness friendly insults being exchanged between friends. It’s a customary way for the British to engage with one another and build bonds. Embrace the light-hearted teasing and learn to give it back in good spirits.
2. Diverse Accents Await You:
Contrary to popular belief perpetuated by movies, not all Brits sound like Queen Elizabeth or Colin Firth. As an expat exploring the UK, you’ll encounter a wide variety of accents, ranging from mild to strong.
Generally, the accents become stronger as you head further north. For instance, if you find yourself in Glasgow, you might find yourself politely nodding during a conversation while secretly trying to decipher the words being spoken. Don’t worry; it’s a common experience shared by many.
3. Early Store Closures:
UK supermarkets, retail shops, and restaurants generally close relatively early. Unless you’re in a major city such as London or Manchester, you’ll likely find that most stores close around 10-11 pm.
These store closing times may vary depending on the specific location and local regulations. It’s advisable to plan your shopping accordingly and be aware of the operating hours of the stores in your area.
4. Convenient Travel Opportunities:
Navigating the UK is a breeze, thanks to its compact size.
Traversing the country is relatively straightforward. For instance, a train journey from London to Edinburgh takes just around five hours, while reaching Wales can be accomplished in approximately two hours. If you fancy a trip to Northern Ireland, you have the option of either taking a ferry or a short flight.
While public transportation may be less frequent in rural areas, major cities across the UK boast an extensive range of transportation options. Whether it’s the efficient Underground system, national rail services, bicycles, buses, Ubers, or traditional black cabs, you’ll find diverse means to get around and explore your surroundings.
5. Be Prepared for Weather Whims:
You may have heard the tales and seen the comedy sketches, and indeed, it’s true – the British have an unparalleled affinity for discussing the weather. It serves as a customary icebreaker in any conversation.
This fascination can be attributed to the utterly unpredictable nature of British weather. Expect the unexpected! It’s not uncommon to experience all four seasons within a single day. Leaving your home amidst a scorching morning heatwave, only to find yourself caught in a sudden downpour by the afternoon, is a scenario you’ll soon become accustomed to.
UK Tech Relocation offers exciting opportunities for growth and expansion. By following these tips, you can navigate the relocation process smoothly and position your business and life for success. Thorough research, understanding of local regulations, cultural adaptation, and building strong networks will help you establish a solid foundation in the UK’s vibrant tech ecosystem.
Embrace the challenges that come your way and seize the remarkable opportunities that await you!
- APPLY FOR GLOBAL TALENT VISA
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- UK TECH RELOCATION
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