London series : Part 2. 1st Contact London

1st Contact Kickstart package

On January the 30th, 9:28PM I arrived in London, UK. I had my suitcase and warm bed to sleep in, some awesome flatmates, an Oyster card for public transport and some Euro notes in my pocket.

I wanted to work in London so I compiled a list of things I would need to handle this:

  • National Insurance Number (Nino)
  • National Health Service (NHS)
  • Bankaccount
  • Proper UK CV
  • The right mindset

Next to the CV and the mindset I didn’t had much. I couldn’t get the NHS number without the Nino so I booked the appointments with Jobcentre Plus for the Nino and went to a local GP to get my person registered for NHS.

Getting the bank account seemed to be a bit more difficult. The issue here is that you can’t get a bank account if you don’t have a proof of address and if you just arrived in a country you don’t have any “recent” utility bills with your name and new address on it. I wasn’t planning to wait for several months to fix this so I do what I do best, browse on the wide webs.

 

1st Contact

After some browsing on the internet I found a service provider called “1st Contact”. This provider helps expats with common problems when they first enter the country. I bought the “Kickstart” package which fits my needs and the next day I got a message that my personalized package was ready to be collected at their office!
When I arrived at the office the whole procedure didn’t take more then a hour, maybe 2 if you include traveling with the tube. One of the staff members explained the contents of the package to me and the reason why I went for the 1st Contact was that they are able to help you out with the bank account. By providing you with a document which replaces the proof of address and allows you to open an account.
When the documents were sorted we booked an appointment with a bank of my choice for the next day, sweet!

A small summary what the kickstart package provides you with for £35 :

 

  • UK Bank account Quick and easy best of all no need for proof of address in the UK. You have a choice of three different banks, HSBC, Barclays or Lloyds TSB.
  • UK National Insurance Number Assistance Avoid paying emergency Tax by registering for your NI Number. As part of the Kickstart package we offer you a help guide that explains how to apply yourself.
  • A UK SIM card Available in both Standard SIM and Micro SIM sizes for iPhone 4 and iPad users. (Your new UK Phone number is also provided before you leave home, which is great for your CV and Family and Friends).
  • FREE Pre registration to 1st Contact Umbrella If you are working in a temporary contract position use 1st Contact Umbrella Payroll and claim back a part of your relocation costs including your flights.*
  • FREE International money transfer Send your money to your new UK bank account for FREE.
  • CV and Job Assistance 1st Contact offer the correct UK CV format and send your CV to our Job Assistance team for FREE.
  • FREE 5 days gym membership PLUS discounted gym contract.
  • UK informative Guide This includes everything you need to know about London from the transport system, the UK tax system, the healthcare system, UK sporting events, driving, entertainment, finding work, travelling abroad and lots more.
  • FREE Accommodation Assistance We teamed up with a network of accommodation providers to suit your budget, from private studio apartments to hostels.
  • FREE Travel Insurance quote Talk to us about your needs and we’ll provide a quote that suits your travel plans.*
  • PLUS Discounts on 1st Contact Services and affiliated partners including tax refunds, shipping, accommodation and tour operators.
  • Optional Additional Extras EURO Travel Money Card, A-Z London Guide, TNT Little Black Book and Mobile Broadband Dongle

Note: no minimum deposit is required to open a bank account through this package.
*upon submitting your NI paper application form to 1st Contact OR attending your Evidence of Identity Interview (EOI) with the JobCentre Plus.
*to claim back your relocation costs 1st Contact Umbrella must be your first employer in the UK.

*travel insurance available for Australians travelling to the UK

Click here to get the 1st Contact Kickstart package

London series: Part 1. Overslept…

Welcome to my London series, I am writing about my adventures about moving to London and the troubles I came pass.

 

30th of January, Wednesday morning 6:00am maybe 6:15am. My phone was beeping and beeping. Wait a minute, I looked at my clock “seven a clock?” that isn’t my alarm…. I overslept, I freakin’ overslept! Thank god I have calculated an hour extra in my calendar for anything that would mean trouble. And had everything packed and set to go.

 

My parents picked me up to bring me to the bus station (bus? Yes!) in Amsterdam and I put my suitcases in the back of their car. The reasons I chose for taking the bus to London instead of the plane or the train are quite simple:

* The bus is dirt cheap, I payed 22 euro’s for a ticket.

* I will arrive in the centre of London instead of the airports outside of London
* I can take 2 suitcases without really having a weight restriction (I guess if you can carry it, it’s just fine)
* And I wanted to try something different

In the meanwhile we arrived at the bus station on time with still time to spare. I thanked my parents we said our goodbyes and I went on the bus.

 

The bus trip

The bus was fairy spacious to be honest and ride was nice. One of the first things I noticed: FREE WIFI on the bus! :D, in this day in age that was awesome. Equiped with my HTC and Macbook I could do some last minute checks and e-mails which saved me from using precious battery power for tethering.

I haven’t seen the Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers and The Return Of The King. The journey would take around 10-11 hours so I decided to watch the two films on the trip.

The bus had several stops at the major cities in the Netherlands, Belgium and 1 stop in France before entering the tunnel. The stops were nice to stretch your legs but the seats on the bus were really nice and stretching wasn’t really needed.

Arrived at the Euro tunnel there were some baggage and passport checks. I was quite into my films so I wasn’t really happy about that, but after the checks it was straight to the tunnel.

Random mind farts which came to me in the tunnel:

* The bus fits in the train for the Euro tunnel, I mean it!

* If the train would windows and the tunnel was made of glass you would have one interesting aquarium
* You almost don’t notice when the train is moving, you only see the bus “bouncing” a little bit.

The train ride lasts about 45 minutes, but I am not sure what the exact time is because I don’t know when the train started moving. From Folkestone the ride was at night over the highway so nothing much to see outside. We would be arriving in London Victoria Coach station in a hour.

9:28pm, arrived safely in London with my suitcases and ready for some Fish and chips.

KLM changes their check-in baggage policy

 

KLM will change their baggage policy regarding checked-in items. Starting from the 22nd of April you will have to pay for your suitcases and other items you wish to check in. This new policy ONLY applies to European flights. If you want to bring your luggage with you will have to add €15 per single trip when you are booking your flight, otherwise it will cost you €30 at the airport. Hand luggage restrictions remain the same.

The upside to this story is that KLM is lowering the prices for their European flights.

Go to the website of KLM if you want to read the whole article