Behind the basics of getting a job sorted out, there have been a whole load of logistical considerations to get sorted out before we move over in just ten days time. Hence, I hopped on a flight over to Dublin on Wednesday (Lana has been out there for a few days more) to get some of them arranged.
The primary goal was to get a PPS number. This is the equivalent of the UK National Insurance number and is required before I can register to receive the tax credits I’ll be entitled to, as well as acting as the key for all sorts of other services. In order to try and avoid paying too much in emergency tax I was keen to get the PPS number sorted out before I start work. This leads to a kind of catch-22 situation in which I was not yet living over there, but yet still needed proof of residence. The usual form of prrof is a bank statement/utility bill. After checking contradictory statements on the web, I phoned them up and was advised that a letter from Lana’s parents stating that we will be staying with them initially would suffice, if accompanied by one of their utility bills. This was easy to arrange, so along with my passport I had all that I needed. The actual process involved going to the Social Welfare office in Tallaght (you can’t go to just any one in Dublin, but the one for the area you are either living in or working in.) and filling in a form. The number should be sent to me (in Ireland of course) in 3-5 days.
Once I have the number I can fill in a form 12a to claim my tax credits. The income tax system does not work on an allowance basis as in the UK, but simply on a variety of tax credits. For instance I’ll be eligible for a single person, and PAYE credit to begin with. Seen as we will be renting as well I may get a rent tax credit available to people renting private accommodation. Of course, come the end of August when we get married this will all change as well.
So, with the PPS number and tax credits on the way to being sorted, I’d need a bank account into which IBM will be able to pay me. From reading up on the web, this looked like it would be the most difficult thing to get sorted in advance of the move. AIB and Bank of Ireland both require two proof of address bills/statements which of course I don’t have. This is mainly to comply with anti-money laundering legislation. Ringing up branches of both gave inconsistent answers so I went prepared with as much paperwork as I could muster, including the stuff I’d given to the PPS people, and even a final UK water bill which we’d had sent to Lana’s parents’ address.
My favoured bank was AIB due to the fact that they have better facilities for transferring money internationally (i.e. back to the UK) however, they would only get around the proof of address issue if I produced a letter from IBM stating my employment, and then only if IBM itself was an AIB customer. Seen as the welcome pack from IBM contained a Bank of Ireland account application form I decided however to go with them. This was influenced by the fact that the money laundering section of the form was stamped over with “Exception MLRO” which gave me hope that maybe the form would relax some of the constraints on the process. We chose to try the nearest branch to the IBM location and it all started out well. I showed them my contract of employment, the letter and bills from Lana’s parents and the completed application form. The lady went away and then came back stating that they would need to see a confirmation letter from IBM HR before they would open the account. Helpfully she suggested that we pop up the road to pick one up. I smiled back and mentioned that the letter would most likely have to be produced by the centralised HR department in Hungary so given the branch was 15 minutes from closing that was unlikely to happen. This appeared to put us in an impasse in which it looked like I’d have to get such a letter sorted out and bring it in once I started work. Not good.
However, just as we were about to leave disappointed, she pointed out that I’d have to get a PPS number as well. Er, well we just did, the letter will be on it’s way to Lana’s parents in a few days. On receipt of this news she smiled and said that if Lana’s mum bought the letter in that would be fine. So, we ended up in the slightly ridiculous situation in which the bank would be perfectly satisfied by a letter from a government department to whom I’d produced exactly the same proof of identity and residence asa I presented to the bank. Still, it means that I’ll have the account set up sometime next week, at least hopefully.
On top of all this, there are a whole load of other things on the to-do list. I’m taking my car over so I’ll have to get it registered, taxed, tested and insured, though I’ll have about a month after we arrive to get this sorted. There’s health insurance and pension decisions to make, as well as the small matter of finding us both somewhere a bit more permanent to live. No doubt I’ll cover much of this in other posts.
From the UK side all our stuff gets picked up for shipment on Tuesday, and next Friday is the last day of work for both of us before we head off over there for good on the 3rd June.