International employees - Joining Essex from Overseas


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We'll transfer your salary into a UK current account. A current account, in some countries called a checking or demand account, is a private bank account for everyday banking services. To get your salary you need to have a current account within the UK. At present, there are legal restrictions on opening a bank account from abroad. However, if any of the major UK banks also operate in your home country via their global banking services, they might be able to help. If this isn't possible you need to open an account as soon as you can after you arrive. All major banks can be found in Colchester, Southend and the Loughton area.

You may need to provide the following documents to open a current account:

  • your passport
  • proof of employment (for example, your employment contract)
  • evidence of your UK address (for example, your tenancy agreement or a utility bill)

Your bank will tell you if you need any other documents. Once you've opened your bank account, you may need to keep your bank statements for immigration or other purposes.

Transferring money to the UK

Make sure you have enough funds when you arrive in the UK. Opening a bank account might take some time, and you'll probably need to make some advance payments – for example, a deposit and the advance rent – before you can move into your accommodation.

Your bank in your home country may be able to advise you on how to transfer funds to the UK if you haven't opened a UK bank account yet. There are also many specialist companies that provide money transfer services, such as Convera.

Most shops in the UK accept credit cards from other countries, though your bank may charge you a fee for using your card abroad.

Income tax and National Insurance

Income tax

Income tax is a tax you pay on the money you earn from working. It is collected directly from your wages by Her Majesty’s Revenue and Customs (HMRC) on behalf of the government. It’s used to help provide funding for public services such as the NHS, education and the welfare system as well as investment in public projects, such as roads, rail and housing. When you start work at the University, we will ask you to complete the HMRC Starter Checklist form. We will use the information on this form to calculate how much tax you need to pay. The University automatically pay any income tax directly from your salary to HMRC through a process called pay as you earn (PAYE), which means in most cases you will not need to file a sperate tax return.

You can find general information about income tax from HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC).

National Insurance (NI)

All working people in the UK aged from 16 to the state pension age, who earn above a certain threshold amount (set by the Government), need to pay National Insurance Contributions (NICs). These go towards state benefits such as the National Health Service (NHS) and the state pension.

If you have already received your biometric residence permit (BRP) your National Insurance (NI) number will be printed on the back of your BRP.

If you do not have one, you must apply for a National Insurance number if you plan to work, apply for a student loan or claim benefits. You can only apply once you’re in the UK.

You can find out how to apply for a National Insurance (NI) number on the UK Government website. Special rules apply for employees coming from the European Economic Area (EEA) or countries the UK has reciprocal agreements with. You can find out more on the HMRC website.