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…