Glory Glory Man United~ *Passionate cheering ensues*

Old Trafford, the home of Manchester United, is nestled in the beautiful city of Manchester, United Kingdom. Indeed, iconic football teams, sports stars and musicians are woven into the soul of this city and expats will soon learn that locals are in love with their sports and music. This characteristic charm and charisma will woo expats to make this city the residence of their choice.

If you are said expat, here are some tips and tricks to help you ease into this vibrant city and to aid you in making your move to Manchester a seamless one.

Employment opportunities

Manchester boasts of a highly developed and fast-growing economy where it is supported by industries that contribute actively to its Gross Domestic Product (GDP). A tip for getting a job in Manchester would be that the sectors with the highest recruitment potential are banking, insurance, accounting, finance, Food & Beverage as well as commerce. There are also great opportunities for expats in the education, healthcare and commercial sectors. Do take note that the basic requirement for applying a job would be a good command of English and that your resume must be tuned to the UK market.

You would find these sites useful in your job search via: Expat.com,  Jobs in Manchester, Gumtree, Caterer, LinkedIn, Monster and Indeed. As for those who wish to progress an already-established career, job agencies are a good way to go: Morgan Hunt, Robert Half and Alexander Hancock.

Housing

The trend for housing in Manchester is that people choose their housing location based on their lifestyles. Entertainment seekers tend to select housing in the city centre or the bustling Northern Quarter. As for business-centric expats, they tend to live in Spinningfields, where many multinational companies reside. For families, they tend to stay in suburban areas such as Didsbury, especially since it has good schooling options.

Most expats usually rent property to have a sense of the living area before committing to buying. Housing search is usually done through the Internet or approaching an estate agent directly. The best tool to utilise would be the property portal as it automatically helps expats compare prices of properties by different estate agents.

It is good to note that for rental, the typical lease is 6 or 12 months, and the typical deposit is about one month’s rent. In addition, expat tenants have to pay for additional utility expenses which are at set times throughout the year.

Property prices and rental costs are lower when the housing location is further away from the city centre. Do bear in mind that there are additional fees for surveys and legal documents aside from the purchase price and are subjected to the property’s value.

Education

The most important thing to note when it comes to education in Manchester would be that there are no international schools. Say if you wish for your child to study the national curriculum of your home country, your options will be to look at boarding options at international schools in London. Else, you might have the option of the International Baccalaureate which might be offered in some private and state schools.

Another thing you should take note of when choosing a school is that many government-funded schools base admission on catchment areas. Thus, you should prioritise the selection of the school before choosing the neighbourhood you want to settle down in.

You can find more information with regards to the school timetable and rankings here.

Transport

In Manchester, there are a variety of transport options. Owning a car is not a necessity when it comes to travelling around. In fact, if you are a cycling enthusiasts, you would be pleased to learn that cycling is an increasingly popular mode of transportation and that measures are put in place to usher Manchester towards a more bicycle-friendly city.

Coordinated by the Transport for Greater Manchester (TfGM), the public transport comprises mainly buses, trains and trams. The public transport system is not fully integrated and as such, there are different service providers. This would mean that some buses which operate on same routes would have different fares and schedules. Thus, the System One Travelcard is extremely useful as it is valid for multiple operators.

Buses are the most common mode of transport in Manchester and their fares vary depending on the operator. It is helpful to know that most companies offer discounts on weekly and monthly tickets. You can find out more information on buses, including their routes and frequencies here.

Trains are a faster but a less frequent mode of transport as compared to buses. They are also a good way to avoid the rush hour congestion. There are weekly, monthly and season ticket options that frequent commuters can purchase. For the train fares and routes, you can click here to find out more.

The Manchester Metrolink is the tram system and it operates along seven colour-coded lines. Comparatively, this is a faster and better mode of transport than buses even though it’s more expensive. If you are planning on travelling regularly, investing in a weekly or monthly pass would be a good move for you.

Car sharing and taxis

Manchester taxis are cheaper as compared to the cabs in London. If you wish to get a cab, you have the option of flagging down a black cab or head online or call to book a taxi in advance. As for ride-sharing, Uber is operational within Manchester and depending on situations, Uber might be cheaper if you are travelling during non-peak hours.

Driving

One word to sum up driving in Manchester city centre – costly. Rush hour traffic congestion and expensive parking in the city centre result in people seeking other alternatives such as walking. Furthermore, the city’s main shopping streets are pedestrian-centric as such, it is not convenient to drive around in the area.

The only perks of owning a vehicle would be the ease to travel beyond the city limits and to cater to the convenience of bringing children around.

If you are from an EEA country, you can drive using your license from home till it expires. However, if you are a non-EEA expat, you will have to replace your home license with a UK license once 12 months is up.

Cycling

Ultimately, the cheapest form of transport would be cycling. There are extensive cycling paths and a bicycle-sharing scheme of more than 1,000 bicycles to encourage people to take up cycling.

Healthcare

Under the National Health Service (NHS), expats who reside in Manchester are eligible to receive free emergency treatment at all NHS hospitals but face restriction on the ability to fully access the NHS benefits. It is thus important for eligible expats to prioritise registration with their local General Practitioner upon arriving at Manchester to fully reap the allocated benefits. For more information on healthcare in Manchester, you can visit this website.

Food and culture

Manchester prides itself in the Manchester Food and Drink Festival, which is a nationally acclaimed affair that occurs yearly. This event draws big names like Jamie Oliver, Gordon Ramsey, Billy Wyman etc. Excited already? Be sure to check out this event once you are nicely nestled in Manchester.

On normal days, you will still count your lucky stars for the decision you made to settle in Manchester, for its food, oh the food. From culinary delights to a wide variety of food of different cultures, you will never get bored. For a comprehensive guide to knowing what exactly to try, you can head on here.

The culture in Manchester is as rich as its food. From cinema, to classical music, theatre, exhibitions, all the way to sports events – you will never get enough. For the latest updates of event, you can proceed to Creative Tourist.

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