WORKgateways UK e-newsletter
Monthly e-News for the UK Working Traveller
November 2009, Volume 5 Issue 11
The WORKgateways e-newsletter is written for working travellers bound for the UK hailing from all over the globe — from New Zealand, Australia, South Africa, Canada and more. Whether you're already in the UK, impatiently awaiting your departure date or thinking about going in the future, we've got something for you. Scroll down to view this month's info.
In every issue
Christmas is creeping up on us and those crispy UK winter days are definitely setting in - if you plan to be spending a lot of time tucking into irresistible British comfort food then we've got some handy ideas to keep you active and fight the extra flab. Plus, we've listed our favourite Christmas markets in Europe for you so you can start planning those fun weekends. If you're still in the planning stages of your UK working holiday, check out our useful visa and UK job info, and don't forget to visit our forum to get all your questions answered...
New occupations suggested for shortage list
Teachers in special schools and skilled meat boners and trimmers have been suggested as additions to the UK shortage occupation list by the Migration Advisory Committee.
The Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) is in place to recommend occupations that are suffering a shortage within the UK. Occupations on the shortage list mean that more international workers are urgently required in those areas, and that employers do not have to conduct a resident labour market test (making it easier for them to sponsor international candidates).
Current occupations on the list include civil engineers, mechanical engineers, medical practitioners, social workers in child protection, some nursing areas and more. View the complete list here and read more about the committees latest recommendations on the UK Border Agency website.
Already got your visa, or know that you qualify for a Youth Mobility or Tier 1 visa? We've got tons of useful visa info on WORKgateways - just visit our informative visa pages. You can also apply to jobs and register with agencies to get your UK adventure started.
Need a UK bank account?
With all the things you need to remember when moving to another country, you'd be forgiven for letting a few things go astray. Let us help you sort one of the most important things out - we've made opening a UK bank account as simple for you as possible...
You've probably heard it said before, and unfortunately it's true. Opening a UK bank account on your own is one of the nightmares faced by travellers arriving on London's doorstep. The good news is though is that a little planning can save you mountains of hassle. We've selected the best (and the best-value) bank account start-up packages on offer, and compiled the choices for you on our handy UK banking pages.
Choose from packages like 1st Contact, Visa First and Fastrack UK. All are excellent options run by well known UK based traveler companies with offices in both the UK and Australia. They cost between $85 and $208 in Australia or €35 for all other nationalities. None require a minimum amount for a deposit and all use major high street banks.
Follow us on Twitter!
Get even more up-to-date UK job and visa news, or our ramblings about London weather and what we're up to on the weekend, by following us on Twitter.
Fight the flab
It happens to the best of us - we set foot on British soil and discover pint-sized lager glasses, Yorkshire pudding, Bangers and Mash, and the fact that chocolate just tastes better over here. Before you know it, the Heathrow Injection takes over and you find you're tipping the scales slightly more than you were back home. Here are our latest ideas to help keep you active on your UK working holiday...
Get your skates on: Blading, ice or roller - skating is cool again and, with loads of rinks and events across the capital, you can mix it in with your socialising time. Go 80s style in fluoro green tights at Roller disco - there are a few rinks in London, including Vauxhall, Kings Cross and the O2 stadium where people skate the night away, vodka in hand. If you like your skating more scenic, try some of the picturesque outdoor ice rinks that get packed in the lead up to Christmas. There are rinks in Somerset House, Alexandra Palace, the Natural History Museum and other great venues.
Play hard: It may be freezing outside for the next few months, but there are plenty of team sports still on, from netball to 5 a side rugby, touch footy and even handball. Check out sporting organisations like One Netball and great sports facilities like the Westway Sports Centre in London's west. Playfit runs social sports and events for guys and girls aged 18 to 35 in south-west London.
On yer bike!: London is a hotbed of cyclists and cycle tracks frequented by bikers who use their two-wheeled friends for both transport and pleasure. If you need a bike but you're a bit short of cash, ask your employer if they are a member of the government's Cycle to Work initiative, which provides tax-free bikes for workers. Then find heaps of ideas for cycle routes across the UK at Cycle Route or just head to your local park where there might be bikes for hire, which there is in Richmond Park.
Sightsee 'til you drop: Any bona-fide traveller/tourist will tell you that seeing all the sights and exploring a city will burns loads of calories and help you tick a few boxes at the same time. London is great to explore on foot - one of our favourite tourist walks starts at Westminster and takes you down along the river to the Southbank and the London Eye, then on to the Tate Gallery, Shakespeare's Globe Theatre, and then ending up in the teeming foodie heaven, Borough Market. Map your route at Walk London.
Christmas market corner
You may think it's not Christmas unless you're on the beach and there are prawns on the barbie, but Christmas in frosty Europe is something truly special. Traditional European Christmas markets abound across the Continent, giving you the must-not-miss magical opportunity to sip mulled wine, buy cute gifts for family back home, and tuck into some quality wintry food (hopefully while the snow is falling!). Here are three of our favourites...
Paris Christmas markets: For gourmet treats like mulled wine and gingerbread, gifts, decorations and other delights in one of the world's most romantic cities, hop on the Eurostar from London's Kings Cross to get into the French Christmas spirit.
Munich Christmas markets: Germany is the king of the Christmas market, and although they have beautiful displays in Nuremburg, Berlin, Cologne and more, the picturesque setting of Munich's Marienplatz is not to be missed. And if you get bored, you can always head around the corner for a stein at the Hofbräuhaus.
Edinburgh Christmas market: A bit closer to home but just as beautiful, Edinburgh transforms into a Winter Wonderland in December, with ice skating, markets and great shopping, all overshadowed by the sparking Edinburgh castle sitting atop the hill. A great way to travel up from London is by train, which will drop you right in the city centre. Book rail fares ahead to save cash at National Express.
Swapping your dollars
The Australian, Kiwi and Canadian dollars are riding high against the UK pound right now - if you need to get those dollars you scrimped and saved into your UK account to spend on fun things, look no further than our recommended money transfer partner, Tranzfers.
Changing Australian dollars to British pounds?
Despite a slight drop in the AUD within the last few weeks, it still remains a fantastic time to be using the Aussie to purchase pounds. Given the recent growth experienced throughout Asia, the strength in neighbouring regions is expected to be reflected in continued strong economic data on Australia's shores. As the commodity prices gain momentum, and the consensus of ongoing consolidation in the UK grows, there is speculations the little Aussie battler is stretching further than ever...
Changing Kiwi dollars to British pounds?
There's little doubt the time is now right to exchange a few Kiwi dollars for some pounds. While the strength of the kiwi may have come as shock to many, it's certainly a pleasant surprise for those looking to travel. With some telling indicators coming out of New Zealand in the approaching weeks, coupled with a return of increased volatility, there is renewed concern surrounding the fact the global economic recovery may be slower than first thought. While the rate may have dropped off its record high only a few weeks ago there is still plenty of savings to be had with the kiwi dollar trading well above its historical average. All in all, right now is a good a time as any to take full advantage of the New Zealand dollar as it's been relatively successful in avoiding the woes of its UK counterpart.
It can be tricky figuring out the best way to transfer your money internationally - whether you're about to arrive in the UK or are a working traveller from way back. Fortunately, we can help - read our useful guide to international transfer here and our useful Money Directory. Register with Tranzfers today, and find out how simple and easy it is.
In every issue
WIN! New Lonely Planet guide to Central Europe
Don't fiddle around the edges, head for the heart of Europe - and make sure you take this guide with you.
Wander through history in Krakow, linger over kaffee and kuchen in Vienna, soak in style in Budapest or just live a little in Prague or Berlin. This guide covers Germany, Liechtenstein, Switzerland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Austria, and Slovenia.. We have five copies of the BRAND NEW Lonely Planet CENTRAL EUROPE to give away, just send us an email with CENTRAL EUROPE in the subject line (and your mailing address). Entries close end of November.
Winners of last month's WESTERN EUROPE giveaway:
Chris King, Vanessa Moog, Antonietta Melideo, Miranda Hughes, Kate Wells