International Recruitment – Moving to the UK

This guide is for individuals who are planning to move to the UK from overseas and work in health and social care. Moving to the UK can be a difficult process for many different reasons, including: visas, cultural differences, the cost of living crisis and personal reasons, like moving away from your family. This guide sets out to make your transition to the South-West of England as smooth as possible.

The health and social care system in the UK is made up of care providers that provide personal care and support to adults who are at risk. This includes care funded privately by individuals and social care funded by local authorities. Most social care services are delivered by for-profit independent sector home and residential care providers.

It is important to note that some roles do not require registration with a regulatory body, these include: senior care workers and care workers. If you experience any issues, please speak to a senior member of staff or the registered manager at your organisation.


English as a language is spoken worldwide and is very common, but it is important to understand that coming over to the UK and speaking English with locals is very different, there are various different dialects and accents that can make things all the more confusing. While you would have to be able to speak English at a B1 level to enter the country, if you require further education in English there are places in each county to improve spoken and written English:

Adult Education in Bath

Adult Education in Bristol

Adult Education in Cornwall

Adult Education in Devon

Adult Education in Dorset

Adult Education in Gloucestershire

Adult Education in North Somerset

Adult Education in Plymouth

Adult Education in Somerset

Adult Education in Swindon

Adult Education in Torbay

Adult Education in Wiltshire


While some providers may supply you with accommodation when you first arrive in the UK, whether you stay in the care home or are placed in shared housing, this will most likely only be short term. Looking for accommodation can be difficult it’s important to find information for local:

  • Lists of accommodation agencies
  • Contact details of private landlords, social housing landlords and housing solutions
  • Lists of hostels and emergency accommodation

When looking for accommodation, you may be able to get help from the local authority housing advice centre. To find the nearest centre, you can check on the internet with the local authorities’ phone numbers or, using the citizens advice bureau, find your nearest centre using  Nearest CAB and type in the postcode of where you are staying.

When looking for privately rented accommodation, you need to check if a landlord is part of an accreditation scheme, these are voluntary schemes that show that the accommodation is of a high standard. You can get good advice on ‘How to rent’ on the GOV.UK website.

For private renting you can check properties online at:

Right Move


On the Market

If you’re thinking about social housing, visit these sites (of course you could also visit the websites of your local authority):

UK social housing – This website allows you to search for the social housing properties that are available in your area, you just need to provide the name of your area.

Shelter – Is a charity that provides advice for people looking for a home.


As you may know already, in the UK, the National Health Service (NHS) is free to the public. It is important to get registered with your Local GP and know what your NHS number is.

Find your GP – enter your postcode when you follow this link and it’ll give you various options of local GP surgeries. It’ll also give you advice on how to register for the specific surgery.

Find your NHS number – follow this link to find your NHS number, you may not need your NHS number but it is important to know as this helps the NHS to identify you.

It is also important to know who to call in an emergency situation. The number for emergency services in the UK is 999. Dial this if you require an ambulance, the Police or the Fire Service.

You can find health service provision mapped within the SW on this website. 


To open a bank account, you will have to fill out an application form. This can be done in branch with the bank, online or, often, over the phone. You’ll need to provide certain details about yourself including: name, address and date of birth. You’ll also be asked to provide documents like your passport and proof of where you live, for example: a utility bill. But if you can’t provide one of the documents, they will accept a letter of referral from someone that knows you, like a GP or your manager. You can also go to the post office and pick up a biometric residence permit.

There are different terms and conditions with different banks, you need to select a bank with an account that suits you, because you will be in a contract with them.

There are a number of different types of bank accounts that you can open. They all serve different purposes and can include:

  • Current account – Using a current account helps you manage your day-to-day spending whether that’s paying bills or direct debits or receiving money from your employer.
  • Savings account – An account that can give you interest in your money and allows you to save money for the future, useful if you need to pay for expensive items or emergencies.

A bank can refuse to open a bank account for you and they don’t need to give a reason. But they cannot discriminate against you because of your race, religion, sexuality or disability. If you are discriminated against, please contact the financial ombudsman or the citizens advice bureau.

You could completely digitalise your banking by signing up to online banks like Monzo or Chase. Other banks do offer online services too. Managing your day-to-day spending can become a lot quicker with internet banking, you can pay bills more quickly too.

Using a mobile in the UK

It will be very important to buy a UK sim card, to contact your employer, friends, to navigate your way around a new area – it’s vital. But it’s also a really easy process, you can order these online or buy them in store and sometimes for as little as £10 a month. You don’t even need ID.

Mobile Networks include:





Tesco Mobile


Your employer may provide transportation, using minibuses from accommodation to place of work, for example. But it will be necessary to get to know the local bus routes or train routes, just in case transportation isn’t provided, your employer should tell you which bus stop or train station to stop at.

Follow Stagecoach timetables, to get the relevant information for you – it allows you to plan your journey, gives you the closest bus stop to you and where it can lead you to.  Public transport in the SW has mapped on this website.  Or, if using a train is necessary follow National Rail – Plan your journey, to show you what the easiest train route is for you.

Having a mode of transport is important, because some organisations can be in very secluded areas and dangerous to walk to, as they could be located near A-Roads. A-roads are typically the widest, quickest and most direct roads in the area, and they shouldn’t be walked on.

If you hold a driving licence in your home nation, you can check whether you are eligible to drive in the UK, please follow this link to see whether you’re eligible to drive here.


Local Tours and Geography of the South West

Taking a tour of the area is a great way to see the points of interest, local community centers, supermarkets, places of worship and to learn about the history of the area. It is important to familiarise yourself with the area you’re living in.

If you are not taken on a tour, there are information guides on google you can find on the city/town you’re in, or the county that you live in.

Places of interest in the South-West of England include:

The Roman Baths (Bath)

The Eden Project (Cornwall)

Stonehenge (Wiltshire)

Clifton Suspension Bridge (Bristol)




Here is a map of the South West (LINK) region of England. It’s made up of seven counties, Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Gloucestershire, South Gloucestershire, Somerset and Wiltshire. The largest county is Devon, which is actually the largest county in England and is the only county with two coastlines.

Cornwall, to the west of Devon, offers the largest coastline in the South-West and is home to over 300 beaches. Dorset is known for its Jurassic coast that stretches along the English Channel and fossils show millions of years of geological history.

Somerset, the geographic county, is centred on a low-lying basin called Sedgemoor, near the coast. It is bounded to the northeast by the Mendip Hills and on the west by Exmoor and the Quantock Hills. To the north an area of rolling hills, including the southernmost Cotswolds uplands, descends to the valley of the Avon and the lowlands along the Bristol Channel.

Wiltshire is home to the historic site of Stonehenge and is the closest county geographically to London (91.2 miles), while Gloucestershire boasts the famous Forest of Dean and is the closest county geographically to Wales, in the South-West. There is also the unitary authority area of South Gloucestershire which includes towns like Yate, Thornbury or Filton, areas with a Bristol postcode. South Gloucestershire was created in 1996 to replace the abolished county of Avon. It is part of Gloucestershire’s ceremonial county.

British Customs

A custom is a usual way of acting or behaving and a tradition is a custom. It’s important to remember that your culture and what is a custom to you, is welcomed here with open arms, but I’ll go over some key British customs for you:

Calendar customs – 1st January (New Years Day), 22nd March- 25th April (Easter, depends on astronomical calculation), 24th, 25th and 26th December (Christmas Eve, Christmas Day, Boxing Day). Of course, these are national holidays for the United Kingdom, but the UK is very respectful of important dates in other cultures e.g. Ramadan.

Social Customs – Being on time is a big thing here in the UK, being late is often frowned open. People in the UK are very disciplined when it comes to situations like queuing, being impatient in these situations can often be seen as rude. Sarcasm- this is a huge part of the humour in the UK and can often be seen as rude and hard to understand, but this is very normal in the UK – this may take some getting used to.

Another custom is driving on the left hand side of the road, which can be seen in other commonwealth countries or some Asian countries but is peculiar to most of the world – please make sure if you do drive, to drive on the left!

Cost of Living Crisis

A huge topic at the moment is the cost of living crisis in the UK. Residents of the UK have seen a soar in prices over the past couple of years and it has become increasingly hard to manage. Contributing factors to the inflation are COVID and the Russian invasion of Ukraine.

There are support systems in place, if it’s needed, for residents of the UK. These can be for your income or bills etc. If the cost of living starts to become unmanageable, please check out the following sections on the GOV.UK website:

Income support includes: the universal credit scheme or cost of living payment, find out more here

Bill support and living costs include: council tax reduction or support from local council, find out more here

Child and Maternity costs include: free school meals and free childcare hours, find out more here

Managing your money includes: budget advice and debt support, find out more here

It’s also important to know that the local council might help with essential costs, such as energy and water costs or essential items like clothes, this is known as welfare assistance. Each council runs their own scheme so you should check whether your local council has a system in place. You do not need to be on benefits to get help from the council.

It is also important to be working out your budget, having access to internet banking will make this a lot easier as you’ll be able to see what is coming into your bank account and what is coming out. Working out what you need to spend on food, energy costs and transportation is going to make life a lot easier for you.

Using supermarkets such as Aldi, Lidl or Asda for food will help reduce costs each month, they have food essentials for much lower prices than supermarkets such as Sainsburys, Waitrose or Tesco.

Places of Worship

The United Kingdom is open and home to many different cultures and faiths. Below is a list to help find places of worship:

List of Gurdwaras – Gurdwaras UK

Mosque Directory – Mosques UK

List of Synagogues – Synagogues UK

List of Churches – Churches UK

List of Mandirs – Mandirs UK

List of Buddhist temples – Buddhist temples UK

A full mapping of religious sectors in the SW can be found on our website.

Foreign Embassies in the UK

The London Diplomatic List contains the addresses and contact details of all embassies and high commissions. It also lists the names of the heads of mission and their spouses (including the date of their appointment). The page also includes:

  • a list of heads of mission in order of precedence, including the date of appointment and details of the role
  • a list of consular offices outside London including Edinburgh, Cardiff, Manchester and Birmingham

Thank you for uploading the document to the South West Councils website