New to London
With all the excitement and nervousness of moving to London, you might forget some of the practicalities for getting set-up and settled. Here are some handy links on the first steps into public health services, employment and housing. Of course if you need more information or advice on any aspect of moving to London then please get in touch with us on 020 7697 4753 or firstname.lastname@example.org If we can’t help we’ll probably know who can.
Keep in mind the population of London is twice that of Ireland so that means much greater opportunities of all kinds and, possibly, greater adjustments. Give yourself time to settle in, expect to be lonely at some stage, and don’t wait for London to come to you – go to it!
Unlike in Ireland, the majority of health/medical services and sexual health services are free of charge via the National Health Service. Often referred to as ‘the NHS’, it is one of the world’s largest publicly funded health services – this means that doctor/GP visits are free. However, due to demand on services, it is unlikely that you will get to see the same GP every time you attend your local surgery – and you will often to have to wait a few days to see a GP. If you want a same-day appointment, it generally needs to be booked as soon as the surgery opens and you may have to gently convince the receptionist of the urgency.
When you arrive in London, make sure to register with a GP as soon as possible – if you wait until you’re feeling sick, you will have to make an appointment to register and then another one to actually see a doctor. You can register with a GP practice of your choice, as long as you live within its catchment area and it is accepting new patients. You will have to complete a registration form so you can be given an NHS number.
Unless you have family or friends living in London who can accommodate you, you are likely to need a significant deposit and a credit check to secure accommodation. Here are some places you can consider looking for accommodation and to understand your rights as a tenant. We’re also including a link for information in case you are homeless.
In order to get a job you will need a National Insurance Number. The number makes sure that the National Insurance contributions and tax you pay are properly recorded on your account. [This is the UK equivalent of your PRSI number]. You pay National Insurance contributions to build up your entitlement to certain state benefits, including the state pension. This number is assigned to you for life, regardless of whether you move away and come back to the UK. You must have the right to work or study in the UK to get a National Insurance number. If you are an Irish citizen then you have that right.
To apply for one, you need to contact a Jobcentre Plus for an application form. Jobcentre Plus is an organisation, run by the Department of Work and Pensions, that helps people to find employment or access the benefits they are entitled to, or both.
Once you have your number, then you are ready to start looking for work!