Monday, 17 March 2008

Some info on the UK “Work and Travel” visa and UK contract employment

A lot of Malaysians (and Asians) are flocking into London under this scheme called ‘Work and Travel Visa’ (“W&T”); one which is valid for a period of 2 years from the date of entry. It basically allows you to work for one year and thereafter, you are supposed to spend the money you earned to travel for the other.

While some are genuinely taking this visa to work and travel, many are also using this as a stepping stone to secure a permanent job. With a permanent job, comes a work permit which of course, allows them to stay in UK longer than 2 years, or for good if they so wish.

The general concern in Malaysia is whether a holder of this visa will be able to secure a job during the 1 year they are allowed to work. This is a valid concern bearing in mind that if you bring your RM to survive in UK, it amounts to almost nothing. So is this W&T visa worth the risk?

From the little more than 2 months I spent in London, I think that the job market here is not that bad. Contract based job is quite easy to secure IF you have an accounting qualification and experience. Have to say sorry if you are a fresh grad. Guess you have to slog for a few years in Malaysia before making the grade.

In Malaysia, if you have a contract job, it means you are not good enough to secure a permanent role. Of course, I disagree with this as I think this is another moronic self-degrading Asian thinking.

Here in London, contract roles are very common and a lot of W&T visa holders take on contract roles. In fact, a lot of people prefer contract jobs. Let me quote what a contractor told me…

“First, as a contractor, I get my bonus upfront, second I pay lower taxes, third I can go on holiday whenever I want, forth I don’t need to fight with anyone for higher increment/targets…”

When that person said ‘I get my bonus upfront’, it doesn’t mean a contractor gets a lump sum upon joining a fee. This simply means the hourly pay is higher compared to other permanent employees. Reason being a contractor usually doesn’t get other benefits such as medical, annual leave, bonus (of course), etc.

I am sure many are curious how much a contractor gets paid. Well, someone with around my experience can command about £40-£45 per hour working as a contractor. Please, don’t start converting, not yet. With 7 working hours a day at £40 per hour and taking an average of 21 working days a month, that is about £5,880 per month before tax.

On average, 35% will be deducted; either as tax or other contributions and with that, the net pay is about £3,822. There are 2 autonomous consumptions which you must spend, i.e. rent and transport. On average, £800 for rent and bills will be enough. A 1 month travel pass is £95 and it gives you unlimited travel on the underground and buses in zone 1 to zone 4. This would translate to a net disposable income of £2,927 per month.

I am not going to tell you how much £££ I spend a month but I can assure that £1,000 a month is more than enough, even with entertainment. I will blog about expenses comparison like
the one I did for HK very soon. Let’s say you are a heavy spender and you go up to as high as £1,500 a month on expenditure. That will still give you a monthly net saving of £1,427.

Now my friends, you can convert. Your savings based on the latest average exchange rate of £1 = RM6.3 is RM8,990 per month. If you are not a heavy spender and spend only £1,000 per month, your savings will be £1,927 = RM12,140… per month. Let’s say an average, RM10,000 a month is saved, that would mean RM120,000 a year.

How long do you think you need to work in Malaysia to amass savings of such magnitude? This is why so many capable professionals are flocking to UK. I would love it too, but my plan is the land of down under. But for those who have made
a professional mistake and are thinking of correcting it, this is your opportunity…

48 comments:

angeles said...

Eh? Why change to Down Under pulak?

wahlau said...

i think the key to this is the resistance to temptation - after living a while in such countries, you will follow the crowd and live like them - then your expenditures are no longer as forecasted - you bound to spend more, and it is hard to resist that ;)

but with strict plans and discipline, i don't think one can't save up enough for a nice future/pension later...

though for you and me, we need to also consider where we put our trust and future in - our hands or His ;)

next time visit us here in Germany, alright? ;)

sooi2 said...

honey, you forgot to mention that the figures apply only for singles. try feeding/clothing/entertaining a wife and a coupla (or more) kids and see :p

whoalse said...

That's if one decides to move back "home" after working a some years!

So, when will you be heading down under?

The Malaysian Life said...

Very informative post. Well, I suppose it depends on the individual - what is sufficient is relative.
The Malaysian Life

Anonymous said...

Aduh! Headache already, all the calculations! Lucky poor pensioner, not much money to count!.....and just wanna add that if u're a contract worker, u'd better buy ur own medical insurance or u make sure u don't fall sick!!! Going to see a doc can burn a hole in ur pocket! (P.S. suituapui here! Old man using hp to post comment, dunno how to indicate ID!! Kesian...but only with blogger.com! He he he he!)

pavlova said...

down under, i presume aussie?? :)

when you've settled, do visit kiwiland when you're free ;)

out of curiosity, what are the interest rates like in UK? for terms deposit (FD) and mortgages??

'cos interest rates here are pretty high... in NZ it's about 9% for FD, and consequently around the same for mortgages...
of course if you convert, you save lotsa money...
but for dollar per dollar, you are much better off overseas than msia.
an average western food meal, say you order a beautiful steak is about $25.00, where else in msia it's about Rm60 or 70, so dollar wise, you save more here....

wuching said...

down under here is too hot & dry! I think I'd rather live somewhere cool & wet like England or New Zealand now

littlepolaris said...

People always think that the grass is always greener on the other side. I'm sure there are some disadvantages living in UK as well. My bf spent 200pound in 2days in London. So can we actually save up the rest of the money and spend 1000 only?

pavlova said...

wuching,

a lot of kiwis run over the aussie 'cos of the weather!!
an estimated 500 kiwis go over there per week :P

esp Queensland is infested with Kiwis...
no doubt the pay is better there etc. but not sure if i can live with the level 4 water restrictions-- 4 mins shower per day?!?!

myop101 said...

there is nothing wrong with contract job. in fact, i hope they will convert all jobs in Malaysia from permenant employment to contract based. Afterall, most of the time, on average, I don't work in a place longer than 2 years...haha....

me said...

a lot of benefits and cons, i think. true what the pensioner sick. what happens when u fall sick? fly back to msia? wuchy doesn't seem to like it too much in down under. hmmm...

frostee said...

Informative post dude. Any idea how much it would cost for a chap with a wife and 2 kids?

Down under sounds good. 80% of my friends are opting for down under for various reasons.

Am setting my sights for Canada for the family and myself.

Sharon said...

i actually thought bout doing it but i have a lot of doubts and the fear of not being able to find a job is just there.
somehow, i'm a lil convinced. how long do u think it takes for one to get a job there before the money runs out?

Huei said...

um..any idea how much per hour a programmer of 2 years experience will get? wuahahhahhahha

damn..dun tempt me!! i wana go UK!!!

sigh..if given a choice between family and career..meaning u can't bring ur wife over to where u work..which would u choose? my boo die die oso dun wana work overseas..how? T_T

Maverick SM said...

Zewt,

This is fantastic information and very helpful for aspiring youngsters who may want to consider their vocation choice.

"Joe" who is constantly craving said...

haha in the land where LV hand bags costs 400 quid..fine dining costing only 50 quid..branded clothes so cheap also..

i doubt i can save lor..hahaha...

Sunshine said...

sigh i dont even get 10k a month, so the 120k per annum saving is like a figure i can only achieve in my DREAMS :P

J.T. said...

I think some Malaysians need to change their thinking when it comes to viewing people and their positions at work. There is just too much emphasis on "who is better" or "who got more?" or "who drives a bigger car?". Sure it happens in every day life throughout the world but I find that quite apparent in Malaysia/ Asia.

I have a friend in London who went there on a W&T. He managed to secure a job within the first year. Of course, he went there with work experience. He was almost coming home when he got lucky with another job. He has been there for four years now. I think he is too used to his life over there now that he may stay on.

bongkersz said...

informative post dude :) down under heh? soon? make sure we teh tarik before you go!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Danny said...

wah... can save that much ah? work few months already got money to marry... haha...

suituapui said...

Teh tarik, bongkersz? Zewt? Can I have roti canai with it??? LOL!!! And before u go Down Under.....VIDEO! VIDEO! VIDEO!!! ROTFLMAO!!!!!

vincent said...

This is what I keep telling everybody.

There is no need to come up with so many reasons on why Malaysia is suffering from Braindrain.

There is only one reason and it is the $$$ and £££

If I leave Malaysia one day, it will be for that same reason as well.

MeLiSsA said...

You make we wanna go to UK now...coz love traveling and its so bloody near to travel to the European countries..boo hoo.. on the positive side, australia is nearby to fiji, nz and what more do you want..it's a continent by itself!!

missironic said...

sounds interesting..applicable for professional jobs only?

down under eh? lots of ppl flocking there to, ya? hehehehe...

drumsticks said...

UK might be another option now if were to go overseas to work and earn..

Thanks Zewt, for the info.

jlshyang said...

Informative post there zewt. Yea, i reckon it's not difficult for foreign professionals especially those with an accountancy and finance qualification to secure a job in the UK.

There are friends who managed to secure those contract jobs in the Big Fours as fresh grads, provided you've done some attachments and stuff. Tough time for law grads though, chances of getting a contract in UK is almost nil even after you've done the Bar Vocational Course (BVC) in the UK. :(

zewt said...

angeles - been always down under leh...

wahlau - haha... true true... germany... right, i will certainly try. not easy though...

sooi2 - the worl and travel visa is for single... and i think only single will take up such a visa... right?

whoalse - dont think london is a good place to spend eternity... :) down under... as soon as my visa is done.

the malaysian life - what is sufficient is well... what is sufficient.

anon @ 17/3 4.27am - hahha... wah... so late still tak tidur. you're right... no medical insurance... well, that's one of the risk.

mar said...

Sweet and tempting Zewt! Where do I sign? :) Seriously,how do I go about getting this W&T visa???
Work 1 year,travel the next...backpacking in Europe - that's my dream come true!!!

zewt said...

pavlova - 60? if you go to a really nice one... it can be as high as 150! i am not sure how is the interest rate in UK... my guess would be in the region of 6%. 9% in NZ???? that is... HIGH!

wuching - hahaha... never satisfied eh?

littlepolaris - your bf on holiday or living on a daily routine? there's a difference u know?

myop101 - hahahahaha... i know exactly what you mean. and by virtue of it being contract... u can give a shit abut your job.

me - obviously, the objective is not to retire there. hey... if you are earning here and fall sick here... does it cost anything cheaper? can you afford i you earning here?

frostee - i think ppl with kids are head to UK... a bit tough unless both you and your wife work. and nanny for kids is a killer! canada... can i bunk in if i ever fly to that side of the world?

zewt said...

Sharon - that depends on what is your profession. if you have accounting background... i would say...2 months?

huei - u sure u can? you boo how? haha...

maverick SM - always my pleasure...

constant craver joe - bro... how many branded stuff can you buy? your room got no store leh... haha...

sunshine - so u know what to do then :)

J.T. - yeah... that is something i wanna blog about. we malaysians dig our own grave... we cost our own suffering.

bongkersz - drop me your number at my mail dude...

zewt said...

Danny - hahahaha... wah, dont be so ambitious...

suituapui - eh... can put in ID already? :P

vincent - yup... it's always about the money... the rest is bullshit... hah!

MeLiSsA - but europe, you can go to france, germany, holland, portual, spain, norway, italy, and a whole lot more!!!

missironic - yup... professional jobs... particularly accounting.

drumsticks - you're welcome.

jlshyang - but law grads can try their luck in auditing... they employ i heard.

mar - just google it... my friend out it already... sorry i didnt provide a link.

suituapui said...

Still cannot put in ID, zewt! U can teach me how? If got ID, that means I've logged in on my PC. Well, at least, at my age, I can read what's on the hp screen, unlike many young people today!!!

Sharon said...

no not accouting background :( engineering/software background?

jam said...

That's why Malaysia cannot hold on to its talented people. BTW, is there any age constraint to apply for the visa?

どりてぃんドリーム said...

先っちょのドリル具合がいいって言われたw
イイ仕事になりそうだし、手術はしばらくヤメとくよヽ(´ー`)ノ
http://8e8ae.net/chinpre/

MeLiSsA said...

been there done that...

but i want to do it again...

zewt said...

suituapui - u mean u cannnot put your link?

sharon - have to say... a bit tough...

jam - 17-30.... :)

どりてぃんドリーム - konichiwa... sayonara...

MeLiSsA - then do it!! do it! :)

Huei said...

sigh..i am one that choose family! so sad

budden isit ok if i go over to somewhere with grass..and then get married to get him over?

hahhahha

HA!?!? age constraint 17-30

that leaves not too much time for me..hmm..y do i feel as though i'm loosing something? hahahha

Huei said...

oh btw..just curious..u don't need visa to go UK do u? i mean..for holiday?

hahahha yes i'm very free today..spamming ur comment boxes

zewt said...

huei - u need to get to grass land... be a grass walker then only yor marriage can get your boo over... as for holiday to UK... no need visa... but be prepared to answer a lot of questions at the passport control.

kyliemc said...

my friend asked me previously whether i would take this visa..yeah, i wish to but after i got enough working experience first..actually my main concern is the weather..i'll be frezzing in an air-cond room when it's 21 degrees celcius..that's so sad.... :(

zewt said...

kyliemc - well, i think u will love it there. the experience you get, the pay, the life... it will supersede the weather... trust me....

CSK said...

Those converted savings are only valid if you intend to return to Malaysia.

if you live permanently in UK, its almost the same life in Malaysia. A 2 bedroom apartment around south east costs around 200k. So say u earning , tax free 3-4k (for contractor to earn 40-45 pound per hr, u need over 5 yrs exp) , you would need save hard for good odd 5 yrs for the 10% deposits. Then you start your mortgage payment.

So in reality, its no much different from Malaysia.

The only good stuff, if u manage find good company that provide good work environment, good work-life balance , and good colleageus.

I think the diff between malaysian and british is the relax and debt mentality. Some british are very relaxing and dont mind get into debts with bank or credit cards.

zewt said...

CSK - really? they dont mind getting into debts? i tot that's american's mentality.

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