How much will it cost when I bring my family to the UK? This is the most common question we get from our fellow Filipino nurses when they consider moving to the UK. True to Filipinos being family centred, Filipino nurses almost always consider their family when they move to the UK. One of the most important factors to consider is always the costs of bringing their families over. Costs does not only include the permanent settlement ladder (ie visa renewal, ILR, citizenship) but also the living costs such as child care, education and your dependent's work prospects amongst others. In this article, we have listed down what to consider in bringing your family and settling in the UK, however, please consider this only as a guide. It's best to check the UK government website for the most up to date figures.
Fare and associated travel costs
You need to cover for your dependents' plane fare and other associated costs such as PCR tests and quarantine hotel (if applicable).
Due to Covid-19 pandemic, the guidelines on PCR tests and quarantine tend to change often. It is important that you check the UK Government site for up to date guidance on the requirements in travelling to and from UK.
As of January 2022, there are no countries in the red list- thus, no traveller is required to book the managed quarantine hotel/package. But in the past months, we have received reports of Filipino nurses who had to pay up to £10k to cover for their family members’ plane fare and quarantine costs.
For fully vaccinated travellers to the UK, one just needs to book & pay for their Covid-19 lateral flow test. A PCR test is required if they have tested positive in their lateral flow test. PCR Tests would cost £15-395.
For those who are not fully vaccinated, they need to take day 2 and day 8 PCR tests. To know more about costs of booking in a quarantine hotel if you have been in a red list country, click link.
For latest news on the UK's COVID entry requirements , please click link.
Visa cost- Initial and Renewal
In most cases, as the main applicant, your initial visa cost is paid by your employer. Your dependents, however, have to be at your own expense.
As of January 2021, application cost of visa is:
up to 3 years - £232/person
more than 3 years- £464/ person
Most visas issued for nurses are only valid for 3 years. This means that you also need to think of the cost of the renewal of your visa and your dependents after the 3 years validity. Same costs apply for renewal of visas.
Aside from the visa cost, you also have to ensure that you have the required amount of money available in your bank account to support your dependent/s.
Here's the minimum money requirement for each dependent:
• £285 for your partner
• £315 for one child
• £200 for each additional child
For example, for your spouse and 1 child, you need to have at least £600 in your or spouse bank account.
TIP- "Ask your employer if they will pay for your renewal fee and start saving for these fees. I did not know that I have to pay for the visa renewal fee. During the start of my 3rd year, I panicked when I learned that we need to renew our visas at our own cost. To make things worse, my spouse and my daughter just arrived in the UK at that time. Good thing, I only had to renew for my visa and I still have 2 more years to save for theirs. If only I knew, I could have been smarter with how I used my money."- Anne, London
Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)
When you have been residing in the UK for 5 years, you can be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. Your family members or dependents can also apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain once they too have resided in the country for 5 years and pass the 2 tests (English and Life in the UK Tests). Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) will give you and your family members the ability to work and study without any restrictions. No sponsorship requirement means more freedom to choose work, whether its outside your field or at a different area in the UK.
More freedom comes with more costs. Here is the breakdown of ILR cost as of 08 January 2021.
Aside from your ILR application, there are also other costs associated with your application such as:
Life in the UK test- £50/ person
Priority processing fee - if you want to receive the decision faster, you can avail for the Priority service which can cost an additional £500-£800
+ get decision in 5 working days- £500
+ get decision by the end of next working day - £800
ILR status does not expire but can be revoked on certain conditions (ie - if you have been outside UK for 2 years or more). Also, you may notice that your Biometric Residence permit has an end date (usually after 10 years from issue date). This can be easily renewed if you have an ILR status.
TIP- "Save. Save. Save. Consider the possible price increase. ILR fees tend to increase year on year. I learned that the hard way when I first inquired for my ILR, the prices literally jumped astronomically compared to when I first arrived 5 years prior. I did not bother keeping an eye on the price increase through the years and so we as a family were not financially prepared when we were then eligible for the ILR. It took us almost another year to save up and be ready for the ILR fees. We nearly had to renew and extend our existing visas instead" - Jay, Birmingham
After a year of having the ILR status, you can now apply for British citizenship or naturalisation. This will grant you more rights such as the ability to vote and apply for a British passport. Travelling to other countries can also be easier as a British citizen.
Cost of Citizenship is £1330, which includes £80 for citizenship ceremony.
Child care/ Education
Child care can be extra challenging especially for us, migrants. They say it takes a village to raise a child. But as you move to a new country, it may be difficult to find support in child care.
Some of us migrant nurses would take alternate shifts with their other half or share childcare with fellow parents or others would resort to nursery or child minders.
Related Article: 5 Ways to Manage Child Care in the UK
According to Day nurseries UK, for 25 hours a week, the average annual cost of sending a child under 2 to a nursery is £7160 whereas childminding services is £6150.
If you opt to use nursery or childminding service, the cost of childcare would vary depending on the age and status of you &/or your spouse visa.
If you are on a Health & Care visa, working or dependant visa:
Child is below 3 years old - You are NOT eligible to claim child care allowance or benefits
Child is 3-4 years old - eligible for free 15 hours child care. Click link.
Child is 5-18 years old- eligible for free education at a state school or until sixth form
If you or your partner has an ILR or has British citizenship:
Child is below 3 years old - You can be entitled to claim the tax free child care where you can save up to £2000/ year.
Child is 3-4 years old - eligible for free 30 hours of child care. Click link.
Child is 5-18 years old- eligible for free education at a state school or until sixth form
For higher education, student finance is available but child or dependent has to be on a settled status (ILR or has UK citizenship).
Related Article: Childcare can be difficult: a Filipino UK Nurse Story
Accommodation/ place to live in with your family
As you bring your family with you, you also need to consider the size of your accommodation or property you are staying. UK government is also very particular on the number of individuals staying at a property and has guidelines to prevent overcrowding.
You may need to rent a flat or a house if you are bringing your spouse and children. Price can also vary depending on location. A studio flat in London (£1300 average) can be more expensive than renting a house in Northern part England (£500 average) You may need to consider location too as this will cover a big part of your budget.
Related Video: Watch Comparing Cost of Living: London vs Countryside
Work prospects for your dependents
This is one of the benefits of bringing your family here in the UK, particularly for your other half. For your dependents, they would not require any work sponsorship to be employed in the UK, additionally they are free to work in any job except for a doctor, dentist or a sportsperson. Generally, there's no cost associated with work for your dependents. However, you may need to consider that they may need more time and effort to settle in. You may also need to support them in getting additional courses such as driving or helping them convert their qualifications to UK standards. Check if your dependent's qualifications are considered in the UK, this may incur a fee. Check ENIC UK to compare your dependent's qualifications.
As residents of the UK, you are entitled to free healthcare through the NHS. (Actually, it is not really free. This is part of the taxes we pay and supplemented by the national insurance contributions.) This is a big benefit especially if you came from the Philippines where healthcare comes with a significant cost. You need to pay when you avail of private healthcare, pay for your prescription from your GP and pay for your dental treatment. Dental treatment costs are not free, check this link from the NHS on dental costs but please note that prices may vary if you consult a private dental practice.
However, even if health care costs are free in the UK, you have to note that with a working visa/ dependent visa, you and your dependent/s still do not have access to public funds which covers a number of benefits such as child tax credit, disability living allowance and income support. This means that in the event that you get sick or unable to work, your finances may be affected. You wont be able to seek assistance from the government with a working visa. Some employers would provide you with sick pay as one of their benefits but most would rely on the statutory sick pay which is £96.35/week to up to 28 weeks. This amount may be not enough to pay for the bills.
Tip! Make sure you have emergency funds to use just in case or get an insurance to protect you financially from these types of unforeseen significant events. Bills will still continue even if you are unwell. - Maria, Rugby
There are still some other costs that you need to consider in bringing your family members here in the UK such as food and other utility bills.
Bringing your family here in the UK can be financially challenging especially during your first years, although in the long run the struggle can be worth it. UK is a great country to raise a family. It offers free health care, good quality education and access to opportunities that was maybe otherwise unavailable to us Filipino Nurses before.
**Information given is based from the collective Filipino Nurses UK Community members experience when moving to the UK. There are other types of visa available to live and work in the UK. For full reference, please refer to the UK government site.