Four years have passed since we left France and immigrated to England, UK. I wrote about life in Hull once before HERE , it was my first impressions after the first month of living in Hull . At that time I was not planning to stay in the city of Hull , but the pandemic and Brexit greatly reduced the opportunities for work and relocation. Now at the time of writing this article, I left Hull for some time, but I can’t say that I intentionally wanted to leave. If I would’ve gotten the job I wanted there, I’d would’ve probably settled there permanently. I didn’t leave because I had a bad life there, so to speak, but you can do better than Hull. I think this is probably the short story of the city.
Don’t get me wrong, the city of Kingston upon Hull, known simply as Hull after the river Hull that runs through it’s by no means the worst place in England, but it’s quite… limited both in size and in mentality. After all, the population voted 67.6% for Brexit, and shortly after the implementation of the referendum result, one of the two ferry lines to Europe from the port (Hull – Zeebrugge) was permanently closed and the other laid off without notice 800 British employees via video conference to replace them on the same day with Asians and agency workers so….
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).
A month ago we were packing again our luggage to move to another country. After the very useful experience in France, we were now ready to move to England, UK. After living for a year in France, we left with mixed impressions. I knew we had to move somewhere where we speak the language and where we can really integrate into society, and I believe we could not truly achieve this there.
When the expiry date of my fixed-term work contract in France was approaching, I started looking for work options in England. After some promising interviews, I still had nothing secured, but I did had an invitation to come for a follow up face-to-face interview that seemed 80% sure. I took a risk and quickly bought a one way plane ticket. I was aware that if I came only for a few days visit just for the interview and somehow it failed, I would return to Romania with the tail between my legs and depressed and it would have been very difficult to ever come back. Fortunately, the interview here went well.
Probably the last of the great capitals that I have not been able to visit until now. It was in my plan to visit for a long time and I even had the plane ticket to London bought in the past but due to unfavorable circumstances I could not go. We left from Marseille, where we are now, and with Ryanair, we paid for 2 people return tickets just 97 EUR! Long Live Ryanair! The plane drops you at Stansted Airport which has a direct train connection to London. The train journey takes about 40 minutes and cost us 30 pounds (2 people). We arrived in London at Liverpool Street Station, one of the many giant train stations of this 10 million-strong metropolis. Getting out of the train and crossing the central corridor of the train station at rush hour, the atmosphere is simply overwhelming. Thousands of commuters traverse in a hurry between the subway and the numerous platforms that serve the suburban trains. But fortunately, the many signs, screens and information points make your life easy. We found our way to the subway entrance, we only had to find the platform of our line, which is not easy considering the fact that there are 4 subway lines serving this station.
The use the public transport, you will need an Oyster card, which is a universal card that is valid on the subway, train and bus, and prices for it may be shocking. The city is divided into 9 zones, and rates vary according to the number of zones you will cross. Avoid as much as you can buying one-time use tickets, they are the most expensive with rates starting from 5 pounds per trip. Better buy daily or weekly passes. To reach our hotel located in zone 4, we bought 2 weekly passes with unlimited trips valid in areas 1 to 4 for which we paid “only” 108 pounds (54 pounds per person). Fortunately, this is the only big expense you will encounter, during the rest of the holiday I had the pleasant surprise to discover that everything is cheaper here than in the South of France.
To reach our hotel near the Wembley Stadium, we used the Metropolitan Line, which is one of the newest line. It has large spacious trains lines and runs in express mode with few stations along the way. But even so, to get from center to area 4 to Wembley, we rode the train about 40 minutes across 20 kilometers (and just think the city has 9 areas just to make an idea of how big it is). All trains in the London underground are clean, have air conditioning through which fragrant air circulates and come with upholstered seats, small details that make other underground subways networks such as Marseille Metro look like buses in Africa.