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WORKgateways UK e-newsletter

Monthly e-News for the UK Working Traveller

March 2009, Volume 5 Issue 3

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.


What's new


In every issue


You can almost feel the antipation and excitement in the air - March is the month when the clocks go back in the UK and the days are finally getting longer. When we bound out of the office at 5.30pm, it's no longer a wintry pitch black and there's a hint of the spring that we have been waiting for! This month we have some very important updates about UK visas, and we'll point you in the direction of very useful information about opening a UK bank account.

What's new

Proposed changes to Tier 1 and UK visas

UK Home Secretary, Jacqui Smith, has announced changes to the Tier 1 (general) highly skilled visa that are expected to come into effect from 1 April, 2009

The plans of thousands of working travellers may have been thrown into uncertainty due to the proposed changes to the Tier 1 visa, annouced by the UK Home Office last week.

Current requirements for Tier 1 (general) include earnings of at least ?17,000 and a Bachelor's degree. From 1 April, it is expected that applicants will now need earnings of at least ?20,000 and the equivalent of a UK Master's degree.

The move comes as Jacqui Smith said: "All workers now coming to the UK from outside Europe have to meet the requirements of the Australian-style points system, which allows us to raise or lower the bar on who can come here. We have always said it is important to be selective about who comes here to work."

If you are currently on a working holiday visa and would like to switch into Tier 1 (general) before the new requirements come into force, you should ensure your application is made and your biometric details taken before April. For more information, stay tuned to our WORKgateways forum.

Fees for visas to increase for 2009/2010
The Home Office also recently announced some changes to their visa fees for 2009/2010. Amongst other changes, the fee for the Tier 5 Youth Mobility Visa is set to increase from ?99 to ?125 and the Tier 1 (general) visa is set to increase from ?600 to ?675. For information on other fees, visit the Home Office website.

Already got your UK visa sorted? Register with UK agencies, or apply to UK jobs.

New requirements for South Africans travelling to the UK

South Africans visiting the UK (even for less than 6 months) now need a visitor's visa to enter or transit through the UK

South African nationals already need a visa if they want to work in the United Kingdom or come here for more than six months. As part of new security measures, they will also now need to one to transit through the UK or visit for less than six months.

For more information, visit the UK Home Office website or see UK Visas.

Which UK bank account package is best for you?

WORKgateways recommends that anyone travelling to work in the UK sets up their bank account before you leave your home country - we guarantee it will save time and hassles you can do without in your first few fun months in the UK

We now offer a total of four cracking packages to assist you open your bank account in the UK. Read all the latest info about opening a UK bank account and compare the packages we have to offer on our WORKgateways banking pages.

The cheapest options are 1st Contact Kickstart, Visa First and the CXC Global Ready2Work package. The Fastrack UK package is more expensive, but is a good option that includes unlimited money transfers and a bank account that is fully operational before you even leave your home country.

Any working traveller will tell you that organising their bank account via one of these traveller bank account packages before they left home was the best thing they did. So, start your research now!

The UK pound losing out to antipodean rivals

One good thing to come out of the economic situation in the UK is that if you are a new arrival in the UK, at least your Australian, Kiwi or Canadian dollars will stretch a little further than they have in recent years

Our money transfer experts, Tranzfers, told us last week that the pound was running low against its antipodean rivals at 2.1900 versus the Australian Dollar and 2.7820 against the New Zealand Dollar. If you are heading over to the UK soon and purchase our Fastrack UK package, which allows you to get a fully operational bank account in the UK even before you arrive, you can then set up a money transfer account through our recommended partner Tranzfers. Or ready out handy guide to international money transfers to find out the best way to handle your cash on your UK working holiday.


Top five survivor's tips for UK job hunting

We've put together a handy guide to help you along with your UK job search. Here are our tips...

1. Write a brilliant CV
You may know that you?re the best person for a certain job, but it?s no use if you can?t communicate your skills and experience effectively to a recruiter or employer. The CV is a job hunter?s most important tool, and it?s important to get it right. Read out hints for a great resume here.

2. Do your research and make contacts
Find out where the opportunities are in advance by talking to recruitment consultants: is London the best place for you to be or should you try a regional area? Do you have enough experience to work in your industry in the UK? Visit WORKgateways to find out about your industry or post questions on our forum. Also make sure you are going to be eligible for a UK visa. UK recruiters are not going to be interested in candidates who do not currently hold, or who will not be able to get permission to work in the UK. Make sure you get the timing right too ? be aware that some visas take longer to get than others.

3. Follow up & be prepared
Recruitment consultants deal with hundreds of applicants ? so don?t be afraid to follow up with them after you send your CV and to remind them who you are. Make sure you register with at least three recruitment agencies and make sure they know when you are arriving in the UK and when you can start work. If you get an interview ? make sure you are prepared. Practice interview questions with a friend, make sure you know where you are going on the day to save extra stress, and ask your recruiter what the appropriate dress is.

4. Be flexible and open to opportunity
Whether they be professionals or bartenders, there are plenty of successful working travellers who didn?t get their dream job the first time round. In the current economic climate, temp roles or short contracts will likely be easier to secure than permanent roles. Be adventurous ? a short contract may turn into something more or give you a ?way in? to the industry. Any UK experience on your CV is advantageous.

5. Stay positive and be realistic
Anyone will tell you that right now is a tumultuous time for certain industries in the UK. Some industries, such as Teaching and Social Work, are still performing well while other industries like Construction and Engineering are still hiring, just with slightly longer waiting times. Don?t expect that you will land in London and walk straight into a job ? it will make life easier for you if you have enough money saved up to keep you going for a couple of months, just in case.

Get your UK job search started — Register with recruitment agencies, or apply to UK jobs

UK events - what's on in March?

As spring sits tantalisingly around the corner, there's some great events on in March, especially for the sports-lovers...

Cheltenham Racing Festival (10-13 March) — Every year, hundreds of thousands of punters head to Cheltenham, in England's Gloucestershire, for this famous racing carnival. Flirt with the fillies on Ladies Day on Thursday, or check out the Cheltenham Gold Cup highlight on Friday. Rug up though, as March can still be chilly and champagne can only do so much!

St Patrick's Day (17 March) — No-one parties like the Irish and what better excuse than their national day? You will find countless celebrations across the UK - Londoners celebrate with a parade and festival in Trafalgar Square. Or, if you'll be on the Emerald Isle, check out the official St Patrick's Day celebrations.

Oxford vs Cambridge Boat Race (29 March) — One of the biggest events on the UK sporting event sees these two universities battling it out on the Thames to claim the coveted winner's spot in this competition that has been rowed for over 170 years. The banks of the river, from Putney to Chiswick, are rammed with supporters and revellers who watch the beginning of the race and then rush to the nearest pub to see the finish. It's a spectacle not to be missed.

Quick money-saving tips for March

Being frugal has just come back into fashion - here are our three quick tips to save your pounds once you've settled in the UK...

Save on the cinema — Adult movie tickets in the UK cost ?7-?9 but there are ways to enjoy the Silver Screen for less. Get a free Orange SIM card and enjoy 2-4-1 tickets on Orange Wednesdays. Or, book your tickets for Vue cinemas on the same day through Last Minute to pick them up for a bargain ?4.99.

Go out in style — There's no need to cut out all the fun - you can get great deals at some of the UK's top restaurants at websites like Top Table. Or, if you're under 26, the Arts Council of England provides free theatre tickets.

Train-wise — One of the greatest scams of train travel in the UK is that two single tickets, or splitting the journey, is often cheaper to buy than a return or a direct one-way. For long journeys, you should always check online in advance and try a few options, rather than turning up at the station to buy a ticket. Booking in advance will often be cheaper too. Check out National Rail.

In every issue

WIN! Encounter guide to Istanbul

Get twice the city in half the time with the new Lonely Planet Encounter guide to Istanbul

Istanbul is an exotic delight - soak up the flavour of the old city in bazaars and bath houses and cruise between bars and galleries in the up-and-coming Beyoglu district. This Encounter guide will ensure you get the best experience

If you want to to win a Lonely Planet Istanbul Encounter guide, just email us with 'ISTANBUL' in the subject line(and your mailing address). Entries close end of March.

Winners of last month's LISBON ENCOUNTER giveaway: Miranda Hughes, Lincolnshire, UK; Jacina Banks, QLD, Australia; Laura Hammond, VIC, Australia; Paul Griffin, London, UK; Klara Papirnik, Brixton, UK

WORKgateways shows your favourite photos

We want to share your UK adventures - so every month we will select a photo you have sent us of a great memory from your travels in the UK or Europe. This month's winner is a wedding pic from Angela and Chris, from Australia, who recently got married in Finland.

"This photo was taken just after our ceremony within the Arctic Circle. Temperatures in Northern Finland can plummet as low as -50 however on our wedding day 29.01.2009 it was -5 so fairly warm in comparison. Throughout Lapland where we were there was always at least 50cm of snow!" Angela

To say thanks, we're sending Angela a travel guide. So, to get your own goodie (a travel book or flight voucher) send us a photo of you enjoying your working holiday in the UK or on holiday in Europe and we'll send you a little something to say thanks. Email our newsletter editor with your favourite snap.

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