I have recently accepted a postdoctoral position at a reputed institute in the UK. I am an oversees applicant, who will soon be moving to the UK to take on this role. During the interview, I did not enquire about relocation expenses, assuming there would be support for that, but I have now been told that postdocs in this institute don't get a relocation support. On top of this, new regulations on the UK visa mean that I am now having to pay almost 1200 GBP just to get a visa and permission to be in the UK.

The town I am moving to is quite expensive (almost London rates) and I am now having trouble raising money for the airfare and paying initial rent and deposit, let alone having money for food and miscellaneous expenses. I am in a very tight spot and don't know how to take the next steps. This role has come after a lot of difficulty, and this situation is making it very difficult. Any advice on what I could do ?

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    Even if you would get relocation expenses, you would likely have to pay it out-of-pocket first and only get reimbursed after considerable time and bureaucracy on the university side. – gerrit Oct 12 '16 at 11:07
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    @NewPostdoc taking into account rent/food/living/etc. would you still have enough money left over to pay off a loan (either from a bank or from friends/family) during the length of your contract? Not sure how easy it would be to find/get such a loan, but it would be the most obvious way to secure the money upfront. – Ian_Fin Oct 12 '16 at 11:23
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    The challenge with the relocation expenses have emerged more so recently due to a few change in circumstances and changes in the visa requirements which have now meant that I am paying double.the amount that I had allocated for the visa. Not in a position to withdraw from the job, at this point. Will figure something out. Thank you very much for your comments and advice. I appreciate it very much. – NewPostdoc Oct 12 '16 at 13:06
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    I think dbluesk's experience is the exception. Postdocs may be coming for a year or two so relocation expenses don't make a lot of sense for a university to cover. // If you were coming to the U.S., you could get a loan in a credit union in the same town or city, on the basis of the letter of employment. Hopefully that is the case in the UK as well. Suggest you put most of your belongings into storage for now. // Perhaps your new employer would be willing to buy your plane ticket. Also I wonder if their int'l student office has some tricks for getting the visa cheaper. – aparente001 Oct 13 '16 at 0:01
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    I would like to caution people commenting, who have primarily North American experience, that things can work very differently in the UK, especially when academia and immigration intersect – Yemon Choi Oct 13 '16 at 3:31

You have been told (by HR I assume) that postdocs can not claim their relocation expenses from the University. However, there is a chance you can claim (some) reimbursement from the School/Department or from your PI's grant. It is a bit late to negotiate this already, but it probably does not hurt to ask.

However, if the answer appears to be negative, unfortunately, there is not much to be done. Welcome to the dark side of academia.

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I'm not sure why this point wasn't brought up yet, but have you considered the possibility of a part-time job? The easiest as an academic would be to tutor high school or undergrad students. With your credentials there shouldn't be too many problems.

Or you could apply for jobs with very low requirements, like cashier at a grocery store, waiting staff at a restaurant, etc. Most people take up a second job when they're short on money.

You could also ask your PI of they can cover it by explaining your financial situation. But honestly, if I were you, I'd just get a part-time job to raise at least some part of the funds before asking others for help.

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    I am not familiar with the details of the relevant legal issues, but if you need a visa to come to the UK as a postdoc, then getting a part-time job might be far from trivial – Yemon Choi Oct 13 '16 at 3:30
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    @YemonChoi as I understand the OP's post, the OP hasn't even raised the funds for airfare or visa application, so I'm assuming the OP is in his country of citizenship for the time being. I'm just advising him to use that time wisely. – Sana Oct 13 '16 at 3:31
  • Sana, point taken - perhaps you could clarify that your advice applies to seeking work before coming to the UK. OTOH, it says near the start that the OP "will soon be moving to the UK to take on this role". – Yemon Choi Oct 13 '16 at 3:33
  • Thanks Sana. Couple of companies that I had previously spoken to, before I got this role have shown interest in offering me some consulting work. I am trying to find out figure out if I would be allowed to this part time. – NewPostdoc Oct 13 '16 at 3:36
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    @YemonChoi nothing has changed so far regarding immigration. It might change when Brexit is triggered, but for now, if the university made an offer, it's because they can definitely sponsor him on the right visa, which is usually a Tier 2 for a postdoc. This means 20 hours of part time work per week. – dbluesk Oct 13 '16 at 8:13

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