Reasons Why You Should Never Move To the UK

If you are thinking about moving to the UK, think again. It may be a popular destination for immigrants and expats, but it’s really not all that wonderful as you might think. Britain is one of the leading countries for immigration in Europe for a reason. However, there are also very good reasons you should never move there.

The top reasons to avoid moving to the UK include:

  • The dreadful weather
  • The food is nothing to write home about
  • Rude and unfriendly people
  • High cost of living
  • Massive traffic jams
  • Competition in the job market
  • Stringent visa requirements
  • Brexit affected business and movement
  • Long waiting times for health services
  • Lower average wage (outside of London)
  • Narrow country roads
  • Poor work-life balance

Don’t get it twisted; the UK is still a great place to live. As one of the most developed countries globally, it has a high standard of living and is home to some of the best universities in Europe. While there are many good things about moving to the UK, there are also plenty of bad ones. You may want to stick around as we detail why you should never move to the UK. To read about the positive parts of living in the UK, check out our UK vs. Germany comparison article.

1. The dreadful weather

It’s often cold and rainy in the UK, and there’s not much sunshine to be found. The summers are short and miserable, and the winters are long and dreary. If you’re looking for some sunshine in your life, you’ll want to avoid the UK.

This is especially true if you’re coming from a warmer climate, as the chilly temperatures of the UK will be quite shocking. Rain showers are frequent, and storms are pretty common as well.

While the UK has defined seasons, it’s not uncommon to see snow extending into spring and even early summer. The gloomy weather is not something that everyone can get used to, and it’s one of the main reasons people end up leaving the country.

See our top cities to live in the UK with the best weather and climate.

2. The food is nothing to write home about

British cuisine is usually bland and uninspiring. The traditional British roast dinner of meat and potatoes may seem appealing, but it’s just a load of calories with no nutritional value whatsoever.

Some other popular dishes, like fish and chips or shepherd’s pie, are similarly unappetizing. If you’re looking for something spicy, you’ll be sorely disappointed. 

Research shows that UK residents are among the unhealthiest in Europe. This is likely due to the poor quality of food available and lack of exercise synonymous with its populace. The obesity rate is currently at 27%, which is quite alarming.

3. Rude and unfriendly people

British people can be very standoffish, especially if you’re a foreigner. If you want to make friends in the UK, it will take some time and a lot of effort on your part. If you come from a non-English speaking country, you’ll need to learn how to speak English properly first.

The British have a reputation for being the most polite people in the world, but this is because they are so reserved that it’s hard to tell when they’re angry or upset. In reality, there is a lot of tension underneath the surface – just look at how much rioting and protesting happens.

If you’re looking for a warm and friendly community, you’ll want to look elsewhere.

How does living in London compare to Toronto?

4. High cost of living

The cost of living in the UK is quite high compared to other countries. The housing situation is particularly bad. In fact, it’s not uncommon for recent graduates to still be living with their parents well into their 30s because they can’t afford a place of their own.

Rental prices in London are almost prohibitive high for a younger generation, who is just starting their careers.

Many people choose to move out of the city and commute in each day, but this isn’t much better because public transport is expensive. If you don’t have your car, then good luck trying to get one; the process of renting or buying a car is notoriously difficult in the UK.

Taxis, on the other hand, are notoriously expensive. In fact, many people choose to live close to their workplaces to cut the cost of commuting.

According to  Consumer Prices Index (CPI), consumer prices were 5.4% higher in 2021 compared to 2020. This means that the cost of living has gone up quite a bit in recent years, and this will only worsen.

A lot of people have already been priced out of their favorite areas by wealthy buyers who can afford to pay sky-high property prices.

Check out inflation rate in the UK in 2022.

How much you need to make to cover your living expenses in the UK? Read this post about British salaries.

5. Massive traffic jams

The roads in the UK are extremely congested, and it’s not uncommon to spend hours stuck in traffic. This can be frustrating, especially if you’re trying to get somewhere important. The only way to avoid the traffic completely is to take the train, but even that can be very crowded and unreliable.

Statistics show that Britons spend, on average, 101 hours each year stuck in traffic. You’ll also need to contend with inconsiderate drivers and road rage; people tend to get very angry when they’re behind the wheel of a car. This isn’t the place to learn how to drive; it’s best to avoid driving in the UK altogether.

6. Competition in the job market

The UK job market is extremely competitive, especially for recent graduates. It’s not easy to find a good job, and it often takes years of experience and networking even to get your foot in the door. According to statistics, the average graduate spends an average of three years looking for a job after graduating.

If you’re not a recent graduate, then it’s even more challenging; most employers want someone who has just graduated so they can mold them into their ideal candidate. Matters get even more complicated if you’re not from the UK. You’ll also have to deal with cultural differences and language barriers.

The job market is especially tough in London, where the cost of living is high, and the competition is even greater. Usually, most people choose to move out of London once they’ve found a job, but this isn’t always possible.

7. Stringent visa requirements

Since Brexit happened, the UK government has been tightening up its visa requirements. There are now strict rules about who can come into the country and how long they can stay.

Brexit has made things even more difficult for people trying to study in the UK, especially from an EU country. For example, if you want to study in the UK as an international student, you’ll need to apply for a Tier Four Student Visa first.

This process can take up to three months, which is a lot of time considering most universities start their terms in September or October.

8. Brexit affected business and movement

The UK is not a member of the European Union anymore; it can set its own rules about immigration and trade deals with other countries. It’s still unclear what the long-term effects of Brexit will be, but so far, it’s not looking good.

British businesses are struggling to compete with companies from other EU countries, and many people are afraid that they’ll have to leave the UK altogether if things don’t improve soon.

The movement of people between the UK and other EU countries has also been affected. In fact, the number of people moving to the UK from other EU countries and vice versa has fallen by 50%.

9. Long waiting times for health services

The NHS (National Health Service) is the publicly funded healthcare system in the UK. It’s free for everyone, regardless of their income or nationality.

However, the NHS is often overstretched, and there are long waiting times for appointments and surgery. You might have to wait up to a year for treatment in some cases.

The NHS is also notorious for its poor customer service. Many people have complained about the attitude of nurses and doctors and the long wait times.

10. Lower average wage (outside of London)

The average wage outside London is much lower than in the capital. This can be a bit of a shock if you’re used to living in a more expensive city, such as Paris or New York.

The average wage for someone working full-time in London is £39 per year, while the average salary for someone working full-time outside London is only £26. Read more about salaries in London.

The table below shows the average wage in popular UK cities:

CityAverage Wage
London £39k
Leicester £26k
Leeds £29k

11. Narrow country roads

The UK has a lot of narrow country roads, which can be very dangerous if you’re not used to driving on them. The speed limit is usually between 20 and 40 mph (32-64 km/h), so it’s easy to lose control at high speeds. There are also a lot of roundabouts, which can be confusing if you’re not used to them.

The narrow roads can also be a problem if you drive a large vehicle. For example, a lorry might not fit down some country lanes, leading to traffic jams. It doesn’t help that most roads are in poor condition, too.

12. Poor work-life balance

The English society is known for its long working hours and poor work-life balance. People in the UK work an average of 37.51 hours per week. This is higher than most European countries.

The average person also spends around 20 minutes commuting to work each day; this adds four hours per week. Most workers feel overworked and stressed out by their jobs. This leads to poor social life accompanied by unhealthy habits such as excessive drinking and smoking.

British people are very hard workers, and they’re not used to taking holidays or weekends off. If you’re looking for a relaxed work-life balance, the UK is not the place for you.


Anna is an enthusiastic expatriate with experience of living in Germany, Austria and Greece. She shares her passion for living abroad on this website.

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