Since the moment I considered the idea of moving to Manchester, I started exploring this question quite seriously. The more information I consumed, the more overwhelmed I felt, and it just seemed too much of a hassle. But as I’m an experienced project manager, I treated all this as a project – I made a plan and I wrote down all the things that needed to be sorted or done. I called it “Project Manchester”, and in this blog post, I’ll give you all the details on what it actually took me to make it all happen.
My project had three phases in total, and the first two of them were run simultaneously:
- Before the move:
- Things to sort in Latvia
- Things to sort for Manchester
- After the move
Looks simple, right? The full list of the things to do included around 100 tasks. I can’t make you suffer through such a long list, therefore I will only focus on the bigger picture. After all – everyone who’s doing anything like this will have a different list!
Things I Needed To Sort In Latvia
As I was living on my own, the first thing I needed to do was to move out of the apartment I was renting. I tried to do it as soon as possible to save on the rent money. I needed to sort all my things – living alone for 5 years meant I had quite a lot of stuff, most of which I won’t be using anymore and couldn’t take to the UK. From throwing out loads to donating it to charity – all that was on my to-do list.
Two years in the same flat with two cats meant I needed to do a big clean up as well. Not that I was a filthy pig! I am a perfectionist and I wanted to leave the apartment in the best condition possible. I was also hoping to get back the bigger part of my deposit but didn’t have high hopes as the kitties had done some damage. Luckily though I got it all back! I guess, leaving things tidy and me just being a great tenant were the reasons why.
Moving out also meant moving in… back with my parents! As they had managed to expand a bit with their belongings, we needed to work out how to fit all my stuff in there. Yet a few more boxes off to charity! If you’re ever going through this – it’s a really good option when you have stuff you don’t need, but it’s still quite good to be used.
I wasn’t quite sure when I might be back in Latvia again and wanted to limit my initial expenses in the UK to the max. Therefore I tried to make all the possible appointments before I left – the doctors, dentist, hairdresser, blood tests etc. This needed a bit of planning in advance, but I wanted to make sure I’m well and healthy and fix anything that needed to be fixed before starting a new life in another country.
Another important task was to figure out how much and what things I need to take with me. I was flying with Wizzair and ended up with one large cabin bag and one slightly bigger checked-in bag. I also packed a box with bedding, towels, kitchen stuff and some other clothes to be delivered after I move in. I will cover this topic more thoroughly in another post.
Also, another thing you should plan a bit – meeting your family, relatives and friends before you move. We all have our own schedules and busy lives, and if you start thinking about it the week before, it might be too late.
Things I Needed To Sort For Manchester Before The Move
My biggest mission seemed to be finding a job in Manchester, therefore I focused a lot of my energy on the job search. I knew I’ll have the best chances after actually moving here, however, I wanted to get things going as soon as possible. I needed to know what was I in for and what were my options and chances. You can read all about it on my other post on this blog.
If you’re unemployed and moving from one EU country to another, you can still carry on receiving the benefit for three months after leaving. This involves a bit of paperwork and dealing with bureaucracy, however, it’s worth the pain. My Latvian benefit could only barely cover my rent and bills in Manchester, but it still is a very valuable financial support and can ease the situation if you’re on a low budget as I was.
Just like job search, finding a place to live in another country is easier done when you’re actually there. I didn’t have this option – I couldn’t afford to live in a hotel while I look for a room to rent. Therefore I focused half the energy on room hunting process which took quite a lot of my time but was worthwhile as I succeeded. Read this post if you want to know more about that.
All the other tasks on my to-do list before the move included various research – what paperwork did I need to live and work in the UK, how much should I pay in rent, how to open a bank account, which mobile operator to choose and how much will it cost me, and anything else I should need to know as a foreigner living in the UK. All this helped me set out a plan for after the arrival and also plan my budget.
When In Manchester
My first thing to do was to register as unemployed at the Jobcentre Plus so I could keep receiving my benefit from Latvia. This also meant that I would return there every two weeks to check in and report on the job hunting process. A bit of a hassle, but as I was indirectly earning some money with this – anything goes!
The next challenge – applying for the National Insurance Number (NIN). When I start working, this number ensures that the government records all the contributions I make towards the UK social security and state pension system. As I have written in this blog post, for me it also served as a proof of address.
Even though I didn’t have a job right away and basically had no need for a local bank account, I wanted to get on with this as soon as possible. The more I read about it, the more it seemed like a mission impossible, especially within the first couple of weeks. I awaited my NIN to have the proof of address, chose the bank I read the best feedback about, and headed to Barclays. My experience with this is covered in another blog post.
The task of finding a general practitioner and registering with them is still on my to-do list. My first attempt wasn’t successful as I was turned down just because I hadn’t lived in the UK for 6 months. I will research this topic a bit more and will try again. Fingers crossed I’ll have some results soon!
…is still ongoing! Even though I will soon be done with the list of mandatory things I needed and wanted to do, it’s only just the beginning! I am quite sure I will have loads of other useful information to share for fellow expats or just anyone who ever plans to embark on a challenge like this.
Note: This post originally appeared on Expat in MCR (expatinmcr.com) blog which has since been renamed to Dream Chaser (dreamchaserwrites.com).