WORKgateways UK e-newsletter
Monthly e-News for the UK Working Traveler
April 2007, Volume 3 Issue 20
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.
- Spring has sprung in the UK
- Hike in visa fees upsets traveller
- UK survey reveals - it's a candidate's market
- Making the switch - Working Holiday to Highly Skilled Migrant Visa
- Returning to Australia? Jobaroo can help
- Bank accounts made easier
- Financial updates from Tranzfers
In every issue
- Win ?100 worth of flight vouchers
- Win Win Win! A guide to New York City
- Tell us what you think! Prizes for best tips and ideas
Daylight saving has struck, the days are getting longer and fresh-faced travellers all over the UK can smell summer coming! To tide you over we've got some great events coming up for Spring and the opportunity to not only win another fab Lonely Planet guide, but ?100 in flight vouchers! Check out our new site Jobaroo, and find out how to win below.
There's also news about the controversial rise in visa fees and some promising news about the UK recruitment market.
Here are some events coming up this month in the UK to put some spring into your step!
The Oxford and Cambridge Boat Race ? There?s no better excuse for drinking beer out of a plastic cups by the river. Join the thousands of revellers who turn out on the banks of the Thames between Putney and Hammersmith bridges for the race, while millions more tune in on TV and radio. Get there early to nab the best viewing spot.
The Grand National ? One of the world?s greatest and most dangerous steeplechase races (that?s a horse race where they have to jump over stuff for the novices) is to be held in Liverpool on the 14 April. There?s all the fashion and fun typical of horse racing carnivals and the whole of the UK stops to watch the race and try their luck at the bookies.
ANZAC Day & SA Freedom Day events ? These are important events for Australians, Kiwis and South Africans living in London. There will be three ANZAC memorials held at various times in London. Visit ANZAC Day in the UK for more info. For more info about events and news surrounding SA Freedom Day, visit South Africa Times.
The costs for many UK visas, including the popular Working Holiday Visa and the Highly Skilled Migrant Programme, significantly increased on the 1st of April.
The rise in UK visa prices has shocked travellers all over the world, who will now have to start saving a little bit earlier to afford the hike in costs. The price of UK working holiday visas, Ancestry Visas and Entry Clearance for Work Permits and the Highly Skilled Migrant Visa, has risen to ?200 ($520 AUD/$620 NZD).
UKvisas says the reason for the rise in costs is to increase the competitiveness of the UK as a destination for travel, trade, migration and investment, to improve customer service and to prevent immigration abuse. Working travellers are less than impressed however.
Richard, 27, from New Zealand, says: ?To charge ?200 for a WHV is going against the spirit of the visa. The WHV is designed for young people who have an active interest in travelling and the culture of the country they are travelling to, so making it cost-restrictive seems very mean-spirited. ?200 translate to a significant investment for Aussies and Kiwis.?
Kate, 26, from Australia says: ?I was shocked to hear of the increase. To more than double the cost of the visa seems grossly unfair.?
To read more about the reasons for the new fees, visit UKvisas
To read more about applying for a visa to the UK, visit WORKgateways
Pru's BIG OE: Rise in costs of UK visas - what do you think?
Skills shortages in the UK mean employers are desperate for qualified workers and job opportunities abound for experienced candidates.
The survey of more than 1,800 UK employers by the UK recruitment firm Manpower, showed that about four in ten UK employers are struggling to fill positions.
The skills shortages mean that more and more employers are looking outside the UK and to working travellers to fill roles. The survey revealed that the candidates most in demand are skilled manual workers, administrative assistants and PAs, engineers and sales representatives.
Making the switch – Working Holidaymaker to Highly Skilled Migrant
Rebecca, 28, an Australian living in London on a Working Holiday Visa, has just been granted her Highly Skilled Migrant Visa. Here she speaks to us about the process and gives some advice for others considering the HSMP.
Q. How did you find out you qualified for the HSMP visa?
A. I found out that I qualified mainly through the Working in the UK website [link] and from reading information on websites such as WORKgateways. I also e-mailed a visa representative/agency as a secondary measure and they wrote back saying I had a high chance of obtaining my visa.
Q. Did you use an agency to help you with your application?
A. No. The new form is actually quite easy to fill in and i was just hoping that it would go through. I couldn?t really afford the cost of an agency either.
Q. How much did it cost?
A. The Highly Skilled Migrant Visa itself costs ?315, and then because I am already within the UK in another immigration category (the Working Holiday Visa), I now have to pay ?330 for Leave to Remain. If I was applying from outside the UK, I would have to apply for Entry Clearance, which costs ?200.
Q. Was it very difficult to apply? What kinds of documents did you need?
A. It wasn?t very difficult to apply for - I had heard that under the old rules the application was quite tedious! I needed to provide my original Master?s degree certificate, my Bachelor degree certificate, as well as a letter from my university to say that my degrees were taught wholly in English. This was to prove that I had a good grasp of the English language (I have met several South Africans who had to sit a English test to prove their level of English as some of their degree was taught in Afrikaans). I also had to provide my payslips from the last 12 months, my income tax return and my original birth certificate to prove how old I am.
Q. How long did it take? At what stage of your current visa did you apply for the HSMP?
A. Once i sent it off, I received notification of my payment within about two weeks as well as an application reference number, and then I received my acceptance after about five weeks. I have nine months left on my Working Holiday Visa - however i could no longer work as I had already worked for a year of the two years.
Q. Any advice you would give people thinking about applying for the HSMP?
A. Just make sure you have all the information they need, go through the form and the guidance notes many times with a fine tooth comb - or even get someone to check it for you - because the process can become quite laborious if you have missed something. And it is always helpful to ask either someone who has been through the process or a visa representative to help initially with the assessment to make sure that you are eligible.
Our WORKgateways HSMP experts can also help you with any questions you have on our Forum.
If you are soon to return to work in Australia, haven't left yet, or if you are a Kiwi, Brit or Canadian thinking of making the move, we have dozens of Australian employment opportunities at our new site Jobaroo. Register today and you could this months winner of ?100 worth of flight vouchers!
Jobaroo is the newest job site for working travellers and professional travelling to Australia, and Australians returning from overseas. We have dozens of Australian job opportunities for working travellers in professional roles in Construction, Engineering, Architecture, Medical, Office Administration and in areas such as outback and harvest work (like fruit picking), and temp roles in hospitality and office support.
Register with agencies today or apply to a job in Australia and get your Australian job search started. If you are an Australian returning home in the next six months, or anyone else travelling to Australia who has already secured your visa, BECOME A MEMBER by registering with agencies or applying to Jobs and you could WIN ?100 WORTH OF TRAVEL VOUCHERS from the provider of your choice (STA Travel, Ryanair, Easyjet, British Airways or QANTAS).
Organising a bank account in the UK is something every traveller should do before they leave home. It will save you tons of time and hassle when you get to the UK, believe us! Now 1st Contact has made it even easier for travellers to get a hassle-free bank account sorted.
Applicants no longer need to show proof of home address or bank statements to apply for a bank account with 1st Contact. Now the only document you need to show is your passport (showing your entitlement to work in the UK) at the orientation meeting you attend when you get there.
And more great news for applicants who can?t get to an orientation session in London, 1st Contact have recently opened an office in Edinburgh where you can attend your orientation session.
For more information about purchasing bank accounts, and about our other bank account provider Visa First, visit UK Banking.
Financial update from Tranzfers - our international money transfer partner
If you plan on doing multiple international money transfers while you are in the UK, it's a good idea to set up an account with an online money transfer company such as our recommended partner, Tranzfers.
The Australian dollar - Continued demand for the Australian dollar has seen it reach levels not experienced in over 10 years of trading against the U.S dollar, exchanging near 82 cents this week. The rise has been attributed to a number of factors with the main one being expectations of more interest rate rises in Oz during 2007. Obviously a good rate for those travellers from Australia but not so good if you are looking to convert Pounds back into Aussie dollars with the rate dropping over the last month from above 2.5 to hit a low of 2.4250.
The New Zealand dollar - The Kiwi dollar has also gained considerable ground over the last month to climb from 0.6830 to exchange near 0.7250 against the U.S dollar. The strength in the Kiwi has seen the cross rate drop almost 5% from its highs near 2.8600 earlier in the month to a low of 2.7300 Pounds per Kiwi.
Read here about transferring your money internationally.
In every issue
To find out how to win ?100 worth of travel vouchers, read about our new website Jobaroo.
More and more travellers are realising how close the US is to the UK, and are taking the opportunities to nip over to NYC!
Start spreading the news?.this month we have copies of the brand new Lonely Planet guide to New York City to giveaway!! Get the insider tips on the best restaurants, shopping, art galleries, theatres and all the other fab things the Big Apple has to offer. To win your copy, email us with 'NYC' in the subject line before 30 April.
Winners of Lonely Planet Seize the Day book:
Angie Strachan, Cooks Hill, NSW; Edwina Chin, Vancouver, Canada; Mark Dylan Meade, Newcastle NSW; Jessica Dutch, Bangor, NSW; James O?Reilly, Prahran VIC; Simon Thorn, Whitfield QLD; Anna Patton, Orange NSW.
Are you in the UK and want to feature in our newsletter? Got a hot tip for working travellers about finding a job, taking a holiday or about living in London? Or are you still at home and have found a great website? Email our newsletter editor, and if we publish your comment, we'll send you a prize!