Living in the UK – A guide for HR and work mentors
It is a truth universally acknowledged (in my teaching circle, at least) that an overseas worker moving to a new country must be in want of a bank account. And not only a bank account. An NIC number, a GP, a dentist, a working knowledge of local services – the list goes on…
It is also universally acknowledged (again, in my own and my colleagues’ experience) that an overseas employee who feels in control of their work-life situation settles in more quickly and is happier in their new community. This is when a good employer is worth their weight in gold and offers a helping hand in the form of great pastoral care and mentoring.
HR Departments of larger companies have already spotted this area of need. But for SMEs and micro-organisations, this may be a fairly new requirement. If you haven’t implemented a pastoral programme as yet, now is the time to compile a comprehensive welcome pack.
Here are some things that may be useful to include in your pastoral care scheme. Click on the bulleted list below to get more detailed information.
Opening a Bank account
Here is some initial information about opening a bank account. If you’re settling in a new employee, take a look at the requirements of these banks:
All bank accounts need proof of identity. Most banks require approximately the same information, and here is the proof of identity evidence needed from Lloyds.
obtaining a National Insurance Contribution Number
The sooner an overseas worker applies for an NIC number the better. They will need to make an appointment with Jobcentre Plus as quickly as possible once they are in the country to get a confirmed NIC number.
You can arrange for an interview for your employee by contacting Jobcentre Plus:
0845 600 0643 (Monday to Friday, 8.00 am to 6.00 pm)
They will need to bring with them:
• proof of identity
• an account of their past years of work and travel
• how and when they arrived in the UK
registering with a GP
It can be quite intimidating to make an appointment with the GP and employers can do a lot to make the whole process easier.
During their induction, you could discuss the different practices in their area and provide a list of options for them to consider.
Here is a link giving information about registering with a GP.
The form to register with a GP is generic so to make life easier, here is a pdf that they might like to complete with an HR officer or mentor before they go to the surgery.
registering with a dentist
There’s no need to register with a dentist in the same way as with a GP. Your new staff member can discuss with you the dental practices in their area (again you could compile a list for them) and can then make an informed choice about the practice they join.
It’s worth pointing out to them that not all practices will accept NHS patients, but click here to find an NHS practice in your local area.
It’s not only these practical areas that should be considered. Integrating into a new community also means getting involved in the social side of local life. Leaflets about groups and activities, for example the nearest Cafe Polyglot or English conversation class can help in making new friends.
The local library is often a mine of information regarding societies and groups, and registration online is simple. Here’s a useful link to help find your local library, but bear in mind that that some libraries may have closed and the list may not be totally up to date.
Your new staff may also need to know how to use the local transport, get a UK driving licence, how to apply for British Citizenship and how to enrol their children in their local school. A formidable list by anyone’s standards and I’m sure your workers will be grateful for any help you can give.
If you’d like to discuss your pastoral care programme with me, we’d be happy to be a sounding board for your ideas, so do get in touch.