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Job Search and Taxation in London

As an expat, you will appreciate working in London due to the professional opportunities the city offers. Not only is the financial sector thriving again, but the creative industries also prosper. Our guide to working in London gives you advice on the economy, the job search, etiquette and more.
In London, you'll have to file your taxes with the HMRC.

The Job Search for Expats

The best place to search for executive jobs and those requiring advanced skills and qualifications is The Guardian newspaper. Interesting vacancies across all sectors are advertised in The Guardian, which features a dedicated employment section specializing in different industries on different days of the week.

What is more, guardianjobs offers a useful online database of jobs with an easy-to-use search function. It also gives you the opportunity to create your own profile so that employers can contact you.

There are, of course, plenty of online job databases and search engines you can consult or subscribe to. Some of them specialize in jobs requiring certain skills, e.g. foreign languages. Others might serve a specific sector or field of work, e.g. academia, legal services, the public and nonprofit sector, healthcare, etc.

An alternative particularly recommended for those looking for temporary or part-time employment is to register with a recruitment agency, of which there are plenty in London. Or simply check the notice board of your local library. With a bit of luck, you´ll find an interesting vacancy in a local business startup amidst all the jobs for cleaners, babysitters and dog-walkers.

Once you have found a promising job, learn how to write an eye-catching application and have a successful job interview in our article on Applying for a Job in the UK.

Business Districts Past and Present

London´s long history of trade and commerce has shaped the city in a way that is still apparent today. Many areas are characterized by the trades that used to dominate them, and even today you´ll find that certain types of businesses tend to prevail in different areas of town.

The City of London, more commonly referred to as just the City, is not only the historic core of London as we know it. It also makes up the core of the UK´s vibrant financial services sector and the capital´s legal profession. This relatively small area (aka the Square Mile) with some of Europe´s most impressive high-rise buildings has a resident population of about 11,500 people, but over 380,000 come to work there every day during the week.

The West End, most notably Soho, is home to the entertainment industry and numerous media and PR agencies. The newly emerging East End, however, is the creative hub of London, especially in the fields of art, design, and fashion.

Big multinationals and professional service providers are often based right on the outskirts of London and in the so-called Home Counties. These counties of England are bordering on but are not actually part of the capital. These companies in particular have a very high demand for foreign language speakers and are probably the biggest provider of jobs for expats at a non-executive level.


As soon as you take up paid employment in London, you will require a National Insurance Number. This is your personal number which is used to keep track of your tax and National Insurance contributions.

You should apply for a National Insurance Number as soon as you start working. This can be done by phoning the Jobcentre Plus National Insurance Number allocation service at 0044 845 600 0643.

The UK has a progressive taxation system, and income tax will automatically be deducted from your salary. It is important that you fill in your tax return form at the end of each year you've spent working in the UK, as you might be entitled to repayment of taxes. This is particularly the case for the year you start working in the UK and the year you leave the UK. The relevant forms can be found on Her Majesty´s Revenue and Customs website.

Taxation is a tricky topic in every country. Our article on Taxes in the UK will help clear up any questions you may have about income tax, taxation of foreign residents, and taxation for the self-employed.


We do our best to keep this article up to date. However, we cannot guarantee that the information provided is always current or complete. 

Jan-Peter van Tijk

"I wish I'd found InterNations sooner: It would have made my first few month as an expat in London much less overwhelming."

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