As of 2022, the United Kingdom has 70 cities – 52 in England, 7 in Scotland, 5 in Northern Ireland, and 6 in Wales. If you intend to relocate to the UK, which city would be your destination? You’ll have to review each one of the 70 to have an answer.
To save your time, you can check out the top 5 relocation destinations in the UK in this post. However, you can’t get to your destination without getting a visa. So, first, let’s discuss UK visa requirements for relocation.
As a foreign, it’s impossible to relocate to the UK without first getting a visa. Visa-free travel is only available to citizens of certain countries for a short period – not more than six months. If you want to relocate to the UK, you’ll need a visa that permits you to stay in the country much longer.
For that, there are two main visa routes you can follow: family-based visas and employment-based visas.
You can apply for a UK family visa if you have a relative in the country. It could be your spouse or partner, fiancé, parent, or child. UK family visas typically last between 9 months to 3 years, depending on your circumstances. The partner/spouse visa, for example, lets you stay in the country for two years and nine months. You can extend your visa when it expires if you meet the requirements and subsequently apply for settlement.
However, UK work visas are the most common – and preferable – route of relocating to the UK. This is because most UK work visas allow you to stay in the country for 3 to 5 years. A key requirement for UK work visas is that you have a job offer from a UK employer with a sponsor licence. Upon expiration, you may be eligible to apply for settlement rather than renew your visa.
Top 5 Destinations
Here are the top 5 relocation destinations in the UK:
London is the UK’s capital and one of the top business cities in the world. It’s the city with the most international migrants in the UK, a testament to it being a top relocation destination.
One of the benefits of relocating to London is job opportunities. Different types of jobs exist in the city, from casual to very professional jobs. If you’re relocating to the UK with a job offer, you could easily be assigned to London.
London is a centre of art and culture with many museums, art galleries, and theatres, to name a few. You don’t just live in London; you experience it.
The city of Bristol is famous for its universities. Therefore, it’s an ideal relocation destination if you’re coming to the UK to study. The city is home to the prestigious University of Bristol and the University of the West of England.
While in Bristol, you can easily connect to other UK cities thanks to the outstanding transport links. There are motorways by which you can quickly get to London and Cardiff.
Bristol is home to some of the UK’s best start-ups. So, if you’re looking to kickstart your career, it’s an ideal city to move to.
No matter where you’re relocating from, you can easily blend in Manchester. It’s the most linguistically diverse city, not in the UK alone but in all of Western Europe. At least 153 different languages are spoken in the city.
Likewise, there’s a range of international restaurants and supermarkets; hence, it’s possible to find local cuisine in your home country. If fun is what you seek, Manchester is a famous global sports destination with football clubs like Manchester United and Manchester City.
Manchester is also a fitting destination to work too, as it boasts of one of the fastest-growing economies in the UK.
Birmingham is a popular destination for people relocating from London, which is why many consider it the “second city” of the UK. The city is spirited as it has a large young population – almost 40% of the population are under 25 years.
You might choose to relocate to Birmingham if you wish to experience London living without spending as much. Its low cost of living makes it a preferred destination for international students.
Furthermore, being in the centre of England, it’s easy to travel the North and South. Moseley, Bournville and Edgbaston, Solihull and Shirley, and Jewellery Quarter are some of the best areas to live in.
If you intend to live in Scotland, there’s no better place than Edinburgh, the country’s capital. It’s a historical city with vivid buildings, towering cliffs, and cobblestone streets. Not to mention the giant castle at the centre of the city.
Scotland, via the NHS, offers free healthcare to employed or self-employed residents, including expats. If you relocate with your family, they too can enjoy this benefit.
While living in Edinburgh, you get to experience the largest arts festival in the world – the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
Tips for Settling Down
Settling down in the UK means getting permanent residency, formally known as Indefinite Leave To Remain status. This status doesn’t make you a British citizen; nevertheless, you’ll be able to work, live, and study in the UK forever. You only leave the country if you want to, but you shouldn’t stay away for more than two years.
You can apply for settlement after residing in the UK for up to 5 years. Note that you shouldn’t wait until your visa expires before you apply but not earlier than 28 days before you meet the residency requirements. With tier 1 visas, like the Innovator or Global Talent visa, you only need 2 or 3 years of residency. If your initial visa was a work visa, you might need to meet certain salary requirements.
The application for Indefinite Leave to Remain can inundate you with the many documentation and other requirements. When the time comes, you’ll fare better by seeking help from UK immigration lawyers. They can also help you with your visa application from the start.