Finding a job in London

Samuel Clennett

London is one of the world’s great cities, and it’s home to people from every country imaginable around the world. If you’re making the move to the British capital from Australia, you’ll be in good company: there are more than 50,000 Aussies in London, according to the 2011 UK census.

Finding work, though, is never easy. London is a huge city, and generally speaking the best bet for finding work in the UK. However, with its size comes fierce competition: you’ll likely be going up against a lot of other candidates.

Here are some words of advice on how to find the best opportunities that London has to offer.

What is life like in London?

It’s important to be honest: living in London is busy and expensive. But the thing is, there’s so much going on in the city that it’s worth it.

London is fit to bursting with exciting bars, cafes, cultural events, and fascinating people – all manner of things that it’s worth braving the legendary Underground for. Different parts of London have strongly contrasting atmospheres, from the suited-up bustle of the City – the financial centre – to the bohemian chic of Shoreditch, which is right next door. But everywhere you go, you’ll find plenty of ways to spend your money.

Accommodation is notoriously expensive, whether you’re renting or buying, and not much else comes cheap either, from eating out to owning a car. One upside is the NHS, Britain’s much-loved healthcare system, which is run by the state: people don’t need costly private insurance for key medical services.

If you want to make the most of life in London, you will need to be earning enough to get by. So read on to find out how to get a decent job.

Do you need a visa to work in London?

Assuming you’re Australian, and not a British citizen, the short answer is yes: you’ll need a visa to work in London, or indeed anywhere in the UK.

There are a few visa types you could try for. If you’re aged 18-30 then a Tier 5 Youth Mobility visa could be for you for up to 2 years¹. You should be able to get a Tier 2 (General) visa if you’ve got a skilled job in the UK to go to². If you have a grandparent who was born in the UK, you could go for a UK Ancestry visa instead⁴.

There are a few short-term options, too: temporary visas for if you want to do stuff like seasonal work⁴.

Read more about UK working visa options for Australians here.

Is there an age restriction to working in London as a foreigner?

As mentioned above, the Youth Mobility visa does have age restrictions: you have to be between 18 and 30. For the General visa, there aren’t age restrictions.

What about tax?

Tax in the UK works much like it does everywhere: if you live and work in the UK, you’ll have to pay taxes that come out of your income. If you get a normal job, you won’t have to think too much about tax, because it’ll come straight out of your paycheck. If you’re self-employed, you’ll need to file a tax return with the tax authority, HMRC.

If you consider getting a job in the UK, use this handy calculators to work out your take-home pay, hourly wage or your salary from a part-time job.

Australia and the UK have a double taxation agreement, so you shouldn’t need to pay tax twice in the two countries.

Where to look for jobs in London

Here’s a guide to some of the best places to find jobs in London.


As you might expect – especially for a technologically advanced place like London – the internet should probably be your first port of call. Here are some particularly useful job sites with plenty of jobs in London.

It’s sometimes useful to find the most specific jobs website there is, so narrow it down a bit if you can. There are specialist sites for part-time jobs, charity jobs, IT jobs, and so on: it’s worth seeking them out.


Don’t discount the idea of a recruitment agency if you’re not quite sure where to start looking. You can search through agencies at Agency Central.


The world of work isn’t the wonderful meritocracy some people like to believe. Sorry to say, but who you know really does matter, and a personal recommendation can be worth more than even the most polished CV.

Now’s the time to reach out to the very edges of your network of friends, family and acquaintances: if any of them has any contacts that can help in London, it could be the perfect moment to call in a favour.

There are other ways you can network too, of course. If you can spend some time in London in advance of your move, try and get a foot in the door while you’re there. Look out for events like London job shows or Skills London.

Opening a bank account in London

London isn’t short of banks. Barclays, HSBC, Lloyds and RBS are some of the biggest, but you’ll be inundated with options walking down any London high street.

Opening a bank account anywhere in the UK is easiest once you already live in the country, because you’ll be able to give your new bank the home address they usually ask for. You often can’t get an account unless you have proof of address.

If you want to get set up with a bank before moving to the UK, you might have to settle for an “international account”, which won’t work for you in the long term.

One option that could save you a lot of trouble during the move is a Wise borderless account. Free to set up and with no monthly fee, it lets you hold money in over 40 currencies and comes with local account details for British pounds, euros, and Australian, New Zealand and US dollars – which means you can both send and receive money in any of those currencies just like a local. If you are looking for a way to send money to United Kingdom, Wise could be an option.

You never need to worry about the exchange rate with Wise, which always converts money at the real mid-market rate, without the hidden markup that banks and other providers often charge: the only fee is clearly stated in full. All in all, this could be exactly what you need before you’re set up with a full British bank account.

Good luck with the London job hunt: a city of near limitless opportunity awaits you. Now’s your chance.






All sources accurate as of 18 September 2019

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