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is it possible to live in London on 16K pa with a family?

(24 Posts)
Parietal Wed 22-Jul-15 20:39:59

someone I know is considering moving to London to be a student for 4 years, on a scholarship that provides £16K per year (no tax). Most students manage on this by living cheaply in a shared house. but this student has a wife & baby to support too. Both the student & wife could get 20hrs paid work per week (unless the visa rules change), but would have to juggle this with the PhD and childcare.

Is it possible to live on this sum in London? If so, how?

Or should I advise him to take a position elsewhere?

Bearbehind Wed 22-Jul-15 21:01:58

You'd struggle to rent a property suitable for 2 adults and a baby in London for £16k a year before any other utilities/ costs of living etc.

On the other hand- surely someone with a wife and child who wants to do a PHD can work this out for hemselves - why do you need to 'advise' them hmm

Parietal Wed 22-Jul-15 22:09:26

That is what I thought. He is from another country & has never been to London but really wants to. I guess I'm trying to get evidence to convince him not to.

ethelb Wed 22-Jul-15 22:54:00

You may struggle to find a family home to rent for much under £16k pa in Ldn tbh.

Bellabutterfly2014 Thu 23-Jul-15 07:07:33

He should contact the university as they may be able to provide contact details for affordable rental properties. Lots of them have contacts with social housing and university accredited landlords so that would be my first port of call.

If he's a student he won't need to pay council tax either and students are exempt from national insurance if they work but there are often term time only restrictions on visa's.

He will also need more money in his bank for his visa application if it's in inner London - details on Home Office Website, but to be honest he and his family would have a much better standard of living in a smaller city/town.

My brother was a student in London and only survived because he lived with my Aunt and uncle on the suburbs and travelled in. He went there as his course was specialised but he didn't have a family to consider - I think he needs to seriously think about it.

MagicalHamSandwich Thu 23-Jul-15 07:14:07

I had a full-time job while at uni in London, lived in subsidized student accommodation together with my partner who also worked and barely scraped by.

There's also no guarantee that both of them will in fact find suitable jobs and possibly childcare to consider depending on their hours.

The cost of living in London is horrendous.

Nolim Thu 23-Jul-15 07:15:25

On the other hand- surely someone with a wife and child who wants to do a PHD can work this out for hemselves - why do you need to 'advise' them

What an unsupportive remark bearbehind. I suppose you have never had to move abroad? First hand information from someone who lives in the destination can be more useful than the oficial advise from the home office.

Op is there an international student association as his university? Do they offer graduate student housing? I have known phd students with families who manage to survive with a low income but i dont have first hand experience in london. He may have to house share, not ideal at all.

MoiraBrown101 Thu 23-Jul-15 07:24:44

The short answer here is no.

DP and I are in an outer suburb with transport links to central London, with a joint income of 35k, and we are just about treading water.

The cost of living in London or anywhere with transport links into it is appalling.

bookishandblondish Thu 23-Jul-15 07:27:08

If it's london university, they have a very limited supply of "family" accommodation which is for post grads. No idea about costs but I knew a PhD student who came with her family who got one - over ten years though.

If he's religious, he might also want to talk to his local leaders and see if there are any possibilities through that.

Kvetch15 Thu 23-Jul-15 07:27:43

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Bearbehind Thu 23-Jul-15 07:49:07

What an unsupportive remark bearbehind. I suppose you have never had to move abroad?

From the OP's comments it reads as if this family are making a life changing decision based on the 'advise' of the OP- that's a pretty heavy burden on anyone for many things let alone a financially unviable move to one of the most expensive cities in the world!

This isn't about the minutiae of moving abroad- Surely anyone clever enough to be doing a PHD is capable of working out something as basic as £16k will barely cover the rent for a family of 3 in London.

Nolim Thu 23-Jul-15 07:51:23

Kvetch i doubt they will be sble to claim benefits as most visa holders are not entittled to public funds.

I slso want to mention that the notion of living space changes widely among cultures. I wouldn want to have housemates after i married but a friend of a friend was living in a 3 bed flat with his spouse, two other grad students and their spouses! I also know someone who lived in a 1 bed with spouse and toddler. They were not bothered at all by the lack of space!

Nolim Thu 23-Jul-15 07:55:47

Surely anyone clever enough to be doing a PHD is capable of working out something as basic as £16k will barely cover the rent for a family of 3 in London.

In first place it is not clear that the student is basing his desicion solely on ops advise, by all we know he may have asked "what do you think?" not "make the desicion for me".

And as i said knowing someone who lives in your destination can provide valuable information, dont you think?

Artandco Thu 23-Jul-15 08:00:43

No. We live in a one bed flat, with x2 children. The rent alone is a fair bit more than £16k.

Superexcited Thu 23-Jul-15 08:03:58

Universities do have some family sized halls of living accommodation but it is very limited. If he was able to secure a place in one of those and him and his wife find work to supplement their income then it might be doable.

tasteslikesugar Thu 23-Jul-15 09:02:03

I did while I did my PhD (finished last year) - but I was a single parent and had extra help through council housing, benefit top-ups, disability allowance, free travelcard and university bursary funding. It would be an impossible struggle without those and I expect he wouldn't be entitled to top ups/housing support due to visa restrictions. Even our university hardship fund would only provide extra help for home/EU students.

Littleredant Thu 23-Jul-15 09:28:48

The simple fact is that in order to obtain a visa in the first place international students are required to demonstrate that they can support themselves without 'recourse to public funds' (including social housing) and also that they have enough to support themselves without working (the 20 hour 'entitlement' muddies the waters a bit imo). It's a tough call for students to make, many leave their families behind at least in the short term.
Op your friend is doing the right thing sussing things out before hand. Many students simply don't believe that there aren't any funds available if they find themselves in hardship and end up in real difficulties.

Bearbehind Thu 23-Jul-15 09:30:47

I think we'll have to agree to disagree nolim

I can completely understand needing details about a place to live but when the first stumbling block is something as fundamental as their income won't even be enough to put a roof over their heads - there's not much point in pursuing it any further.

Nolim Thu 23-Jul-15 09:53:55

Agreing to disagree it is.

jevoudrais Fri 24-Jul-15 08:33:52

PhDs are hard. I would be concerned that doing 20 hours a week on top might be really hard, so I probably wouldn't want to bank on definitely being able to do that. Most people I know who do PhDs full time are mad busy all the time.

And I don't think it would be affordable either, there are many home counties where that would be tough.

Patapouf Wed 29-Jul-15 09:06:15

I don't think it's doable, no.

As for not having to pay council tax, that's not true. A household with two adults, with one studying will get a 25% discount. Unless of course they will both be studying full time?

If he has already been issued the visa that will mean the visa processing centre has deemed 16k sufficient. That, or they have considerable savings!

tasteslikesugar Wed 29-Jul-15 11:58:33

He'll also need to understand the new rules for international students - he could be required to show much higher levels of savings (could be £11385 according to the article) and his spouse may be more restricted in terms of work (no low skilled work). Some of these are just proposals right now but could come into practice during his PhD.

Trills Wed 29-Jul-15 12:03:37

It's very unlikely that he'll be able to complete a PhD in 4 years while working 20 hours a week (and presumably also doing some childcare while not working).

Kinsman Thu 30-Jul-15 20:18:20

I have to agree with PPs. Renting a two bed flat in zone 2 for instance would cost a lot more than the £16k pa. This is before bills travel and food is factored in. I don't think it's worth it. Sorry.

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