Immigration consultants, Sable International, have released a new update looking at the costs of moving to the UK in 2019 – including visas, travel, accommodation, and the cost of living.
Despite the country’s current political problems with Brexit, the UK remains one of the most popular emigration options for South Africans with 210,000 migrants as of 2017.
In addition, a large number of South Africans continue to leave for the country – with around 7,300 people emigrating from South Africa to the UK in 2017 alone.
You can find Sable International’s cost breakdown in more detail below.
* All currency conversions were performed at R18.95/pound.
Visa costs are largely dependent on the type of visa you apply for, Sable International said.
“If you’re coming to the UK on an Innovator Visa you can expect to pay more than if you’re an employee being transferred to a UK business on a Tier 4 (General) student visa.
“If you’re applying as a start-up or innovator, you’ve got to take other associated business costs into account. Tier 2 work visas may also have financial requirements such as an appropriate salary as well as a certain amount of funds available in your bank account,” it said.
Sable said that if family is a consideration, visas for your spouse and dependants also carry their own costs, so these need to be factored in your calculations.
The cheapest option (the short-term study visa) starts at £97 (R1,840), while a Family visa can cost up to £1,523 (R28,889).
|Innovator||£1 021||R19 367|
|Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent)||£456 and £152||R8 649 and R2 883|
|Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer)||£482 – £1 220||R9 143 – R23 142|
|Tier 2 (General)||£464 – £1 220||R8 801 – R23 142|
|Tier 4 (General) student visa||£348||R6 601|
|Tier 5||£244||R4 628|
|Family visa||£1 523||R28 889|
|Short-term study visa||£97 – £186||R1 840 – R3 528|
|Ancestry visa||£516||R9 788|
|Returning Resident visa||£516||R9 788|
“Depending on the immigration status you’re applying for, you might need to pay the £400 immigration health surcharge (IHS) to gain access to the UK’s National Health Service (NHS),” Sable said.
“There were massive increases to this fee in 2018, so make sure you’ve added it to your calculations.”
Sable said that flights can be quite costly depending on the time of year – with a one-way ticket from Johannesburg to London costs between £300 – £400 (R5,690 – R7,587).
Other costs to consider include:
- Travel insurance: about £15 (R284)
- Transport from the airport: £6 – £50 (R113 – R948)
“Since you’re immigrating, you’ve probably got a few things to take along,” Sable International said.
“You’ll get some baggage allowance, but excess luggage can get costly. You’re better off shipping your extra items (or household contents) beforehand. A box of clothes could set you back £165, while shipping all your household contents could cost up to £1,200.”
When you arrive in the UK, if you haven’t already secured a house, you’ll need somewhere to stay, Sable said.
“Rent will make up your biggest expense and, depending on where you live, this can get costly; the UK rental market requires a large upfront deposit.”
Students, working professionals, innovators and entrepreneurs will all have different living expectations when immigrating to the UK, it said.
“We’ve compared rental prices in both a higher cost location (London) and a more affordable area (Lancashire) to give you an idea of what to anticipate,” Sable said.
According to Sable’s data, you can expect to pay between £300 – £3,000+ (R5,684 – R56,843+) to rent in London, while a more affordable area such a Lancashire may cost half the price.
In addition to rent, you’ll also have to take tax and utilities into account, Sable International said.
“Council tax covers rubbish collection and other council services, while utilities are your water, electricity and gas bills.
“Find out the council tax valuation band for your area to get an idea about what you’ll pay. This can be anything from £40-£170 per month, depending on where you live and the value of your property.
“Utilities are usage-based, so it’s important to add extra funds into your calculation to cover this – around £160 per month for two people in a modest apartment.”
Below Sable provided a comparison between eating out and buying groceries from a popular retailer.
- McDonald’s Big Mac Meal (medium) – £4.69 (R88.87)
- Nando’s 1/2 chicken with 2 sides – £7.60 (R144)
- Dining out – £9.75 (R184.74)
- Groceries (one person) – £170 per month (R3,221)
Below Sable outlined some of the other hidden costs you should look out for:
- Start-up expenses: Everything from new bedding and bath mats to cookware and cleaning supplies. The little things add up – to around £150 (R2,842);
- Mobile and banking: Getting a UK SIM card with a mobile plan and opening your bank account are smaller, yet significant expenses you can budget for. A prepaid SIM with 12GB data and 3,000 minutes will cost around £15 (R284);
- Transport: Calling a taxi, taking the train, or renting a car each come with their own cost to consider. A short taxi trip can set you back £10 (R189.48), while a month’s worth of train rides could be around £60 (R1,136);
- Entertainment: Movies, shopping and exploring – set aside some budget for enjoying yourself when you first arrive. A cinema ticket will cost around £10 (R189);
- Internet access: Whether it’s mobile data or broadband at home, getting online is always a priority. Broadband plans start from about £20 per month (R378);
- Clothing: You may not be prepared for the UK weather and buying warmer clothes can get pricey. A down jacket will cost you £40-£70 (R757 – R1,326).