Migrate to UK

First 5 years in the UK as a Nigerian Expatriate (Migrant)

This information will equip you with essential information to help you transition seamlessly into the UK system. They are in no way exhaustive, so it is also suitable for you to conduct your research in critical areas.

This article is a response to specific questions asked by somebody who has gotten a job in the professional services space. Therefore, you will find that I’ve used a lot of terminologies in the professional services sphere that you can replace with terms that are common in your field.

Question addressed here include:

1. Readiness for excellent working skills and workplace etiquette in the UK

2. Cost saving technique especially with family of 4

3. Process of Owing properties without ILR/PR – e g. House & it’s benefits

4. Ways to fast track ILR/PR in the UK rather than waiting for the 5years period

5. List of other side hustle/business that someone can get involved to increase source of income

6. The possibility and requirements for setting up a personal company/firm without ILR/PR and it’s benefits (e.g. can this help to fast track ILR?).

7. How long should someone stay with the Big4 firms?

8. Common mistakes that new immigrants make within UK.

9. Education/school enrolment for children (4year & 1+) and Essential things to bring along when coming for the first time or the best approach for transporting luggage.

10. Other useful information as deemed necessary


1. Readiness for excellent working skills and workplace etiquette in the UK.

Change Mindset: There are many differences between working in Nigeria and the UK. In order to succeed, you must completely change your outlook. Assigning tasks and completing your assignment will require more intentionality. Try to maintain a balance between impressing others and understanding what has to be done. Don’t assume anything, ask a lot of questions.

The Culture: People in Nigeria are often rude! They rarely respect anyone else besides elders and superiors. Respect for subordinates is non-existent. In the UK, things are different. Culture here is different from what you’re used to. Everyone is treated with respect from the bottom up. Individuals’ private lives are respected. Whenever you speak to someone, you speak with respect. Don’t shout! It’s up to you to explain again respectfully if your subordinates don’t understand.

Project Management: The partners (superiors) are hands-on and supportive, but you need to do your part. A strong project management skill is essential. You need to plan your partner’s (superior’s) review time well in advance.

Believe in You: You may feel intimidated at first, but that’s normal, especially if this is your first time working with foreigners. You are up to the task, and besides you are a Nigerian. Don’t let anybody fool you, you didn’t get here by mistake. It is possible that you even worked for one of the BIG 4 in Nigeria prior to moving here, so you are an excellent candidate. You will be frustrated if you try to compare yourself with someone else now. Though things may move slowly at first, keep going.

2. Cost saving technique especially with family of 4.

· Make more of your own food and eat out less

· Kids grow fast, so Primark clothes are ideal for them.

· Use Facebook Marketplace to find new genuine items with and without tags

· Find the best deal on utilities – TV, internet, water, electricity, and heating

· Paying utilities bills with direct debit

· Get a credit card with benefits

· Search for coupons when you shop online

· Purchase items during sales (yeah, that really works here)

· If you are renting or moving houses, be sure to read the meters so you don’t end up paying the last tenant’s bills.

· If you aren’t married, get a partner (we split the bills here)

· Buying a new phone (of course not every year)


Search Links – comparethemarket.com, confused.com, moneysupermarket.com


3. Process of Owing properties without ILR/PR – e g. House & it’s benefits

· Find out the value of your house by searching by area, property type (house or apartment), and price.

· Save to meet your deposit

· Building a strong credit score (see number 10)

· You need to save 5-20% of the house’s value

· To cover solicitor’s and other incidental costs, add another 3k to those savings

· Consider buying at 5% using government-sponsored HelpToBuy (HTB)

– HTB is the government’s way of helping you get on the property ladder more quickly

– It’s interest-free for 5 years, and you start paying interest after year 5

– In year 5, you should plan to have the debt paid off.

– After some time, you will start paying £1 monthly for the HTB

– Additionally, you can open a HTB ISA savings account with your bank.

– After the initial £1,000, you can pay in up to £200 per month

– Buying your first home will give you a 25% government contribution (up to £3k).

– With a Help to Buy ISA you can buy a home with someone who also has one; both will receive the 25% bonus.

– It has a purchase price of up to £250k (or up to £450k in London).

– You own the property as your only residence

– Your property is where you plan to live

· Benefits

– You contribute to equity that can be converted into cash in the future

– This is a solid investment

– A stable monthly payment

– It’s cheaper than renting overtime.

– Builds your credit score

– Having the freedom to make changes

– You save on taxes

– Gives you a sense of belonging and integration into society

– Enhances stability

– Being the landlord makes it easier to invite people from Nigeria.

Search links – zoopla.co.uk, rightmove.co.uk, onthemarket.co.uk, boomin.com, Purplebricks.co.uk, home.co.uk, primelocation.com, your-move.co.uk, Nestoria.co.uk


4. Ways to fast track ILR/PR in the UK rather than waiting for the 5years period

Haha, Nigerians always like to fast track. You need to calm down! There are different types of Visas and the number of years you need to stay in the UK in order to get permanent residency and then after a year you can get the red (or is it blue) passport. Below you will find a list of years.

· Legal stay on any basis (long stay): 10 years

· Permits for Tier 1 and Tier 2 (now skilled workers): 5 years

· Married or unmarried partner of a UK citizen: 2 years

· Investor, sportspersons, business owner, arts: 5 years

Obviously, only if you are married to a permanent resident can you fast track, and after that you have to spend 2 years in the country.

Getting your ILR is not automatic; you have to meet certain conditions.

· Lawful living in the UK for a certain period of time.

· No breach of immigration laws during your stay in the UK and no criminal record

· A period of time spent outside the UK which doesn’t exceed 180 days in a 12-month period during the qualifying period.

· A pass in the Life in the UK test, which is a test based on British culture, history and traditions

· Ability to prove that you meet the B1 level of English as set out by the Common European Framework of Languages.

However, there are still some people that are exempt!

· Those eligible for British citizenship by descent (or other form of automatic citizenship)

· Child dependents of a British citizen or person with settled status.

· An adult dependent who is reliant on the long-term care of their family member who is a British citizen or person with settled status.

· Refugees resettled in the UK through the Gateway Protection Program

5. List of other side hustle/business that someone can get involved to increase source of income

· Your best side hustle is saving

· Reduce your costs by all legal means

· There is probably a hobby you already have that can generate income on the side, so hon it here. Here, the internet works and is fast. Google and YouTube should be your best friends.

· Depending on your risk appetite, you can engage in other forms of investment.

– Low risk investment – buy equity but Index funds or ETFs, popular Apps for these are Trading212, eToro or plus500. I use Trading212 (my referral code is GvToS5of).

– Other high risk are crowd funding and start-ups – https://www.easyship.com/blog/best crowdfunding-sites

– Avoid buying single shares

· Book a one-on-one session for your customized financial coaching with me or ask your preferred financial advisor

Search link – https://www.ephraim-unuigbe.com/contact/ or google search


6. The possibility and requirements for setting up a personal company/firm without ILR/PR and it’s benefits (e.g. can this help to fast track ILR?).

In just 24 hours, you can register a limited company in the UK or register a branch of your existing company. Establishing or expanding a business in the UK is straightforward. It is up to you how your company operates.

However, consider the following:

· Check that you can legally start a business

· Do you have a business plan?

· Decide on your structure

· Choose a business name and address

· Register with HM Revenue and Customs

· Check any additional rules for your type of business


7. How long should someone stay with the Big4 firms?

· Don’t leave if you are happy


8. Common mistakes that new immigrants make within UK.

· Staying in a job you’re not appreciated for too long

· Understand that you are a free agent and have several options

· They are waiting for the 5 years to come

· Building a network around their kind only

· Intimidation and fear

· A lack of interest in further education

· Making their own financial plans (and those of their families)

· Unnecessary showoffs

· Not mingling with your kind enough – keeping to themselves

· Unprepared for the next job

I can help you prepare for your next job. CV, cover letter, and personal statement writing, interview coaching, career counselling, and LinkedIn profile optimization – please see the link here – https://ephraim-unuigbe.com/work-with-me/


9. Education/school enrolment for children (4year & 1+) and Essential things to bring along when coming for the first time or the best approach for transporting luggage.

School enrolment:

· You will need to plan nursery (daycare) for your child (ren) if they are less than 4 and their birthday is after August and your spouse is working.

· Nursery cost about £1k per month depending on location

· You can enroll your 4-year-old child into school if their birthday is before September. How?

– If you live in England, contact your local council to find – https://www.gov.uk/find-your-local council


– Admission criteria are different for each school. They may give priority to children:

– who live close to the school?

– who have a brother or sister at the school already?

– from a particular religion (for faith schools)

– who pass an entrance exam (for selective schools, for example grammar schools – secondary school)

– who went to a particular primary school (a ‘feeder school’)

– who are eligible for the pupil premium or the service pupil premium?

– whose parent has worked at the school for 2 years or more

· Education is free in the UK from 5 (or 4) years old until higher education

– Primary school: 5 to 11 years old

– Secondary school: 11 to 16 years old

– Further education 17 to 19 years old

– Higher education – 3 years

· At age 16 when students pursue their GCSE’s or General Certificate of Secondary Education. Once students complete their GCSE’s they have the choice to go onto further education and then potential higher education, or finish school and go into the working world.

Essential things to bring along

– It’s not necessary to bring your plenty of Aseobi. For instance, I only wear my agbada maybe ones a year, haha

– Avoid buying more than one winter jacket in Nigeria. You’ll find better ones here

– For your first trip to the UK, book a direct flight (more expensive but safer and less stressful).

– Bring only one or two of your everyday clothes. Here you can find better and cheaper clothes

– You can carry your local foods, just enough to fit within weigh limits, but you’ll find Nigerian food here. The price is reasonable as well.

– Actually, you can find all the food items here and have the advantage of travelling light


10. Other useful information as deemed necessary

· Build your credit score

o Take up a phone contract

o You can vote, register to vote immediately

o Get a credit card and pay off within a month as you get your salary

o Pay everything via direct debit

· Register for Council tax and pay by direct debit

o You can get discount if you stay alone

· Your best friend should be Google and Youtube.

· Buy a copy of my book on Amazon – Click this link

· You will need a car (or maybe not immediately)

o You can drive for a year with your Nigerian driver’s license.

o You’ll need to get your insurance

o You’ll be required to pass both theory and driving tests

o Practice your theory driving lesson to learn the road signs before attempting to take the test (check Appstore or Playstore for driving test prep Apps, most are sold for £5)

o Pay for driving lessons – No, you are not an expert driver already. Pay for the 10hours first to see if you need more learning

· How to help you partner secure a job

o Securing your partner a job can be easy and tricky at the same time

o They probably need to rewrite their CV and/or cover letter to ensure it suit the market requirement

o Maybe a little interview coaching could help too

o They can start by volunteering at Charity shops – this count as UK experience and it’ll help to build their confidence and communication skills

o Volunteering can be just once a week and for 1hr. if they it’ll still count as UK experience

o They may also consider career change

Job websites – https://www.cv-library.co.uk/, https://www.totaljobs.com/, https://uk.indeed.com/, https://www.reed.co.uk, https://www.jobsite.co.uk, www.gov.uk › find-a-job, www.fish4.co.uk, https://www.glassdoor.co.uk, www.linkedin.com.


Final thoughts

I would like to congratulate you again and wish you a safe and pleasant stay in the UK. A UK experience can be exciting, and you will almost certainly have a bright future. In return, you must work diligently and intelligently. Most of the information here is based on my personal experience, and many of the points can be verified online.

The information in this write-up does not constitute financial advice. Get personalized financial advice from your financial advisor if you need it.

To schedule a one-on-one consultation about some of the points in this document, click here.

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