The United Kingdom remains a popular place for European and other non-UK citizens, to look for work. With demand for contractors on the rise because of the tax savings and flexibility that it provides. Being a temporary working contractor is often underrated as a career choice because of the risks that this type of work can involve.
For expatriates who are aiming to begin a contracting career here in the UK, there are many different issues that you need to be aware of. The first hurdle for those not UK or EU citizens is obtaining a work visa. Other visas may also be required for other family members and even friends, where applicable. The laws have changed recently, around tier 1 migrant visas, that only allow contractors from outside the UK and EU to be allowed a working visa are those that have a large amount of money to invest, have internationally recognised achievements or have found a client to be a sponsor.
It's worth noting that highly skilled and talented workers, regardless of the industry, are welcome and have a great opportunity to become successful and profitable contractors.
But, its apparent that there are many different myths surrounding contracting in the UK, that are discouraging expatriates from making the final step.
Here is a few of these myths which can easily be demystified:
- Contracting incomes are similar to permanent incomes. This is a very common myth, in fact skilled contractors will always earn much more than permanent employees. This is because of lower tax, depending on how their payroll is managed, and also the ability to claim expenses. Contractors skills are respected and because of the flexibility working hours this is reflected in their increased in their overall take home pay.
- Contractors are liable for any mistakes, is again another myth. Contractors who use umbrella companies will be covered by indemnity insurance provided by the umbrella company. Limited company contractors will also have professional indemnity insurance to protect themselves and the company in any scenario where legal action is taken.
- Skills can quickly become outdated, is also another common myth. Being a contractor and capitalising on increased earnings can allow for reduced working hours per week and the ability to go on courses if and when required. The flexibility of contracting is one of its biggest advantages.
- The recent Agency Workers Regulations (AWR) will impact demand for contractors in the UK, again is false. Most reports of this have been scare tactics towards the implementation of the regulations. To date there has been little to no impact on contracting levels in the UK, due to the AWR.
It is highly recommended to research the issues and complications that could arise when moving to another country to work. Although your standard of life and income may improve, cultural differences and other drawbacks may exist.
To help get an idea of possible earnings and take home pay, consider using a contractor salary calculator.