Moving to the UK from Italy

Relocating from Italy to the UK

Citizens of Italy have a proud history of emigrating to the UK since the 14th Century when merchants and businessmen originating from the North of Italy docked in the port of Southampton and settled in London. While the estimates vary considerably, it is believed that there are up to 500,000 Italians living in the UK. Italians are drawn to the UK for a number of reasons, including the vast work opportunities available and the opportunity to join family members who already live here. In this guide, we will provide the legal requirements that Italians moving to the UK should be aware of, the cost of living in the UK, a checklist for Italian citizens emigrating to the UK, and why people from Italy should move to England, Northern Ireland, Wales, or Scotland.

Moving from Italy to the UK after Brexit

You will no doubt be aware that the UK left the EU at the start of 2021, formally ending the free movement of citizens between the UK, Italy and other countries in the union. Italian citizens and other EU nationals who lived in the UK prior to 31st December 2020 were able to apply to settle here, either by applying for pre-settled or settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Those who were not living here before this time now require a visa to emigrate to the UK.

Moving to the UK from Italy benefits

For Italians, the UK has an enormous amount to offer. The strong economy provides a wealth of job and business opportunities that may not be available to the same extent in Italy. The UK is also known for its diversity, history, culture, and beautiful villages, mountains, hills, lakes, and countryside. Citizens of Italy are also drawn to the UK because of its excellent and renowned education system, including our world-class universities such as Oxford, Cambridge, Edinburgh, St Andrews, and University College London (UCL).

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The following section sets out just some of the many visa options available for Italians planning to emigrate to the UK (it is by no means exhaustive), as well as the key legal requirements for each.

Immigrating to the UK from Italy for Work

  • Skilled Worker visa – The UK Skilled Worker visa enables both EU nationals and non-EU nationals to live and work in the UK for up to 5 years. Crucially, after 5 years, Skilled Worker visa holders can then apply to settle permanently and, 12 months later, British citizenship. If you would like to apply for a work visa as an Italian national, you will need a job offer from a licenced UK employer. You must be in an eligible occupation, receive a salary which meets the salary requirement, and meet the English language requirements.

Immigrating to the UK from Italy to Study

  • UK Student visa – If you are planning to move from Italy to the UK to study at a school, college or university in the UK, you can apply for a Study visa. Having completed your degree, masters or PhD course, you will then be able to apply for a UK Graduate visa. With a Graduate visa, you will be able to stay and live in the UK to find work for up to 2 years.

Immigrating to the UK from Italy as an Entrepreneur

  • UK Innovator Founder Visa –The UK Innovator Founder Visa is a great option for Italian entrepreneurs who have spotted a market opening in the UK. If this visa interests you, you will need a new, unique, viable, and scalable business idea. Many people are attracted to the Innovator Founder Visa because it offers an accelerated route to permanent settlement in the UK of just 3 years (compared to the normal 5 years).

The UK offers a wide range of visa types catering to different needs and long-term plans. To fully understand the UK immigration routes available to you as a national of Italy, it may be extremely beneficial to discuss your case with an immigration Solicitor based in the UK. They will take the time to understand your situation and that of your partner and children and recommend the most suitable visas for your needs.

Cost to immigrate to the UK from Italy

The three biggest costs of moving from the UK are a) immigration fees, b) removal costs, and c) the cost of setting up home. Immigration costs include the application fee and the healthcare surcharge (which provides access to the NHS). Because these fees and surcharges are paid for each person and for each year upfront, the total cost can be considerable. In terms of removal costs, if you plan to bring your personal items, we recommend getting more than one quotation from reputable international removal companies that can handle the process for you. And finally, to set up a home in the UK, you will need to consider the cost of paying a property rental deposit, your travel costs to the UK, purchasing a UK-registered car, and buying new furniture in the UK.

How to set up your finances in the UK?

We recommend setting up a new UK bank account when you arrive in the UK. To do so, you will need a permanent address and your passport to prove your identity. You will also need to apply for a national insurance (NI) number, which is a prerequisite to working in the UK. Taxes are extremely straightforward in the UK, especially if employed. Your employer will simply deduct any tax owed at source from your wages and pay this directly to HM Revenue & Customs automatically on your behalf through the UK’s ‘Pay As You Earn’ (PAYE) system.

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What is the cost of living in the UK?

The cost of living in the UK is higher than in Italy, according to the cost of living website Numbeo. The price of consumer goods in the UK is around 8.3% higher compared to the UK, but when rent is included, they are 20.5% higher, driven by the fact that rents here are much more expensive (nearly 60% more). That said, the salaries on offer in the UK are often higher, but this will depend on your occupation and the rate offered by your employer. Given the higher cost of living in the UK, it is important to consider where you will live before you make the move here.

Emigrating to the UK from Italy - Checklist

To make sure that your move from Italy to the UK is as smooth and seamless as possible, we recommend taking the following steps as early as possible in the relocation process:

  • Review all of the immigration routes available to you and your family. An immigration Solicitor will be able to explain which route is best for you based on your personal situation. Very often, we are able to provide options that migrants to the UK are not aware of and that are easier, cheaper, and more beneficial. During this process, look at the self-sponsorship route discussed below, as many people are not aware of this option.
  • Apply for and secure a job before you apply for your work visa. Your UK employer will issue you a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS), which will set out your job title, start date, and salary. You can then provide your work visa application to UK Visas and Immigration.
  • Create a detailed budget of your expected income and living costs. This will give you the confidence that you can live comfortably in the UK.
  • Take the time to look at where you would like to live in the UK. There are so many options, each with its own pros and cons. This will also give you a better idea of how much money you will need to live in the UK.
  • Check with the schools in your proposed local areas to ensure there are spaces for your children.
  • Have a chat with other Italians already living in the UK to understand their experience of moving here and for their tips on how to make the process as easy as possible.

What is a Self-Sponsored Route?

Self-sponsorship is an often overlooked way for citizens of Italy to make the move to the UK without needing to get a job here. Instead, you set up your own company here and work for yourself. Once in the UK on the self-sponsored route, you will later be able to apply for permanent settlement and, ultimately, British citizenship.

Emigrating to the UK as a non-Italian national

Since Brexit in 2021, EU and non-EU nationals require a visa to reside, work, and study in the UK. The type of visa that you need will depend on what you would like to do when you come to the UK. If you are unsure which visa route to apply for as a non-Italian national, we recommend speaking to an immigration Solicitor in the UK who will recommend the best way given your circumstances and that of your immediate family.

Joining UK Family Members as a Non-Italian National

If you have an immediate family member (i.e. partner, spouse, parent or child) who lives in the UK, you may be eligible for a family visa. To be eligible, your family member must be a British national, a person with permanent settlement, an EU/EEA national who started living in the UK before 1st January 2021, or a person with refugee status in the UK. If granted a family visa, you will be able to join your loved one and, after five years, apply for permanent settlement and, one year later, citizenship in the UK.

A Y & J Solicitors is a specialist immigration law firm with extensive experience with all types of visa applications. We have an in-depth understanding of immigration law and are professional and results-focused. For assistance with your visa application or any other UK immigration law concerns, please contact us on +44 20 7404 7933 or at contact us today. We’re here to help!

Moving From Italy to the UK

Reach out to our immigration advisors to handle your relocation process from beginning to end.

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Moving From Italy to the UK

Reach out to our immigration advisors to handle your relocation process from beginning to end.

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