I’ve noticed lately more and more Romanians in England are pushing hard to get their own house. And why not? Why pay rent to a landlord, when you can put that money in to monthly payments for your own house, investing in your own future. You’re giving away this money on a monthly basis anyway, right? Let’s see how much does a house costs in England at this time, in August 2022.
Prices have increased a lot in the last two years, even by 40% in some areas. Brexit, Covid, the war in Ukraine, low interest rates on mortgage loans and the uncertainty of the future, all these factors have led many to want the security of their own property in England. Thus creating an extraordinary demand that far exceeds the supply. At the moment, the Bank of England is increasing the reference interest rates to reduce inflation. Interest rates on mortgage loans have already increased from 1% to 4%, but it seems that the market is still stubborn and the demand it’s still solid. However the rate of house price increases has slowed significantly.
For EU expats established in England UK, the act of changing their driving license in to an English or British one, is often a mandatory step due to work requirements. Possession of a British UK driving license is also the first and easiest way to obtain proof of residence with a picture and address here in England UK. This is one of the few documents accepted by banks, real estate agencies or employers. The others are more difficult to obtain (bank card, local council bil / utility bill or British passport).
The procedure to change your driving license in England UK is fortunately very simple and relatively quick. All official information can be found on the British government website here. As it is clearly written on the website, the citizens of any EU state have no legal obligation to change their driving license and are allowed to drive with the European license until the age of 70. For those who have obtained their driving license in a country outside the European Union, the driving license must be changed to a British license within 12 months of arrival in England UK.
How do taxes in Romania compare with those in the West, is it true that we pay more and earn less than those in France, UK or Germany? Let’s see:
England, UK, average annual salary £ 31,300 (€ 37,250). The first £ 12570 earned are not taxed. Only from what you earn over 12 thousand, up to 50270, 20% tax is taken by the British government. If one of the partners earns less than 12570 per year, the other has a tax reduction. National minimum wage: £ 9.5 per hour (€ 11.3), or roughly £ 1600 per month;
France, EU – the average annual salary in 2021 was € 39,300. The first € 10084 are not taxed, from what is over 10 thousand to 25710, 11% is taken, and from what is over 25 thousand to 73 thousand, 30% is taken by the French government. In France, the tax is calculated on the combined income of the family, each adult is considered as a unit, and each child as a half of unit. So, if you have a family consisting of 2 adults and one child, and only one of the partners works, his annual income will be divided by 2.5, and then it is observed where he falls within the tax grid. It’s quite possible that he ends up paying no taxes at all. The national minimum wage in France is € 10.25 per hour, or about € 1763 per month;
It seems that some people still don’t understand that the UK has left the EU and that you cannot enter England after Brexit without having to answer to border officials regarding the purpose of your visit. So let’s see what are the legal ways to come to England after Brexit if you do not have a residence permit (aka Settled Status).
First of all, you can say goodbye to any thought of visiting England and looking for work during your visit. Many were refused entrance in to the country at the airport on a PERMANENT basis if the customs officers even sniffed that you came to work and not just to visit. The British authorities started asking EU nationals for a return ticket, proof of accommodation during the visit and proof that you have enough money to sustain yourself for the duration of your stay. If you’re lucky enough, nobody will ask you anything at the airport, but are you really willing to take that chance and risk flying for nothing?
In addition, all (legal) British employers and all employment agencies are now required by law to request from candidates the so-called “share code” which is an internet link generated by the UK government’s website to the page proving that you are resident in England UK. It doesn’t matter if you have Settled or (Pre) Settled Status, they both give you the right to work and live in England. I explained in the last article how to apply for Settled Status. The deadline to apply for residency was June 30, 2021 (there are very few exceptions in exceptional cases for those who live in England before 2021 or have family here but did not have time to apply before June 2021, the list of exemptions is here). But let’s say you still want to come to England and you don’t have a NINO, residency or any work history or studies in the UK. Let’s see what options you have:
The war is long over, but who won in the end, Germany or UK England? Historians say that the United Kingdom and the Allies, but the modern reality on the ground says otherwise. In addition to official data, we will also look at the experiences of those who actually live in these two countries. I live and work in the UK – England since 2018, and my friends here have been living in various areas of England (London, Manchester) for more than 6 years. I have not lived in Germany personally (just in France) so I asked friends who have live there for research material. Three of them responded, out of which one is a doctor in the Dusseldorf area for 11 years, one works in retail in the Stuttgart area for more than 15 years and one came more recently (3 years) also in Dusseldorf metro area to work in the hospitality sector. Here is what I gathered from all of it:
Wages in Germany were already considerably higher than in the UK even before the Brexit referendum, which led to a decline in the value of the pound sterling, and this trend will continue in 2022. In 2020, the average gross wage in Germany was of EUR 47928 or GBP 40866 (at today’s exchange rate). In England UK – the average salary in the country is about 30000 Pounds per year or 35180 EUR at today’s rate. And the pound might continue to fall in 2022 due to the lack of strategy on the part of the British government and the general lack of management of the entire Brexit process; It is true that you pay more taxes in Germany, but even so, your NET income for the same job will still be higher there, no matter how you look at it (there are of course exceptions).
We’ve all heard that England is a friendly country towards cyclists, but what’s it really like cycling in UK England? After years of hesitation, I finally mustered the courage to buy a second-hand bicycle. On fb market, I found this baby for just 60 pounds. Not bad, right?
I haven’t ridden a bike for many years, but I slowly worked it out. First through the local neighborhood, and then through the city. For a beginner cyclist, I must admit that the road infrastructure for cyclists and the car driver’s behavior is very encouraging. There are literally everywhere segregated routes from car traffic for bicycles, clearly marked dedicated lanes that are usually physically separated by some kind of barrier (green space, curbs, stanchions, etc.). But by far the most encouraging factor is the behavior of car drivers towards cyclists in UK England. Every time or at least 8 out of 10 cases, when they see you approaching an intersection, they slow down or come to a complete stop and signal you to pass. And if you have to share the road with cars, the drivers stay calm behind you until the opposite lane is clear, and then they overtake you with generous clearance to the bicycle. That is, without horns, close calls overtaking, without harassment, verbal abuse, etc, you know the usual in Romania and East Europe in general.
The UK is a great country with lots of nice places, but unfortunately some things are just out of reach because of nature. In my country, Romania, you can’t do a lot of things due to financial limitations, but you can do however a whole lot of other things like:
Go to the beach and enjoy a nice 32° C (90 F) degree sunny day with a beer in my hand, then if I get too hot, take a dip in the Black Sea, where the water in the summer is 22° C (72 F). After bathing, I can stay on the hot sand to dry while watching an endless parade of local girls that look like models pass by. After a superb day like this, I can come back the next day and repeat. I can do this for 2.5 months and almost never have to worry about rain, grey skies or wind; You can do it for an extra 2 months if you don’t mind sitting on the beach on slightly lower temperatures like 25° C (77 F). In England, last summer we had just one single day when the temperature reached 30° C, the summer average is 21°C (70 F), while the maximum sea temperature at nearby beach resort of Scarborough is a chilly 17° C (62 F).
I was born in Romania and came to UK from Marseille France and the weather was a complete shock for us here. Even though we were warned by our friend who lives here, and despite the fact that we came to visit ahead of relocation to scout the place, we were still hit hard by it. Remarkably during our visit here, it didn’t rain once, so whoever was working on the sales pitch up there, did a very good job.
I have been living here in UK for more than 2 years now. Here is what I found out to be shocking in UK for me as a foreigner (came from France and born in Romania):
UK is one of the few countries in the world where the local property taxes are paid by the tenant and not by the owner of the property. If you are tenant in UK you will pay an additional 130 pounds per month (or more) in property tax to the local authorities for a property that is not yours (aka council tax). If you are renting and not pay the property tax, you can be prosecuted and thrown in jail for this! Before you say it’s not a property tax, let’s look at the facts: it’s based on the value of the property, and if the house is vacant, it is paid by the owner. No matter how much you try to sugarcoat it, it is still a property tax that supports local services for the permanent residents of the city, not for the temporary occupiers of the property. I as a tenant am not using 90% of the services I am paying for (parks, schools, public transports, libraries, community centers, long term projects for improving the city),but my landlord and his kids who live in town are using them and will continue to use them after I leave the city, hardly fair no?In France I was paying 10 Eur per month for bin collection and that was it, the rest of the services are funded from taxes (impot local) paid by the owners of the properties, it’s like this all over the world. I am using Emergency services yes, but they are charged separately in the bill (roughly 21% of the bill),I have no problem in paying those, the rest of 80% that goes exclusively to the council I have a problem with.