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Contracting in Scotland, Oil, Gas and Video Games!

Glasgow and Edinburgh are Scotland’s two largest cities and they are great places to visit, live, work and do business. They are amongst Europe’s most dynamic and modern cities, yet steeped in culture and history. The traditional friendliness and openness of the people ensures that all people who are new to the area are guaranteed a warm welcome.

The Edinburgh and Glasgow region is not only stunningly beautiful, it also has a growing economy and global reputation for cultural excellence. All of which makes it an irresistible place in which to live and work. Only 46 miles apart, or 50 minutes by train, and located in Scotland’s Central Belt, the two cities and their surrounding areas have a combined population of 3.2 million. They also have an established commitment to collaboration, aimed at enabling the two cities to compete more effectively on the world stage. And with countryside and coast in such easy reach, both offer a very high quality of life.

Edinburgh city region is located to the east of Scotland – linked northwards to Fife by the world-famous Forth Bridges and stretching south to the Scottish Borders. As Scotland’s capital, Edinburgh is home to the Scottish Parliament and many functions of the Scottish Government. As well as it's proven financial strengths, Edinburgh is Scotland’s primary tourist destination and leading city of science.

Glasgow is located to the west of Scotland on the River Clyde and is the country’s largest city, at the heart of one of the UK’s principal metropolitan areas. Its population is around £1.2m with a large catchment area that provides an easy commute for a further 500,000 people. It was recently voted as sixth in the Top 10 rankings for the Best City to Locate a Business Today, beating Edinburgh by two places!

Aberdeen City and Shire, a land where majestic landscapes meet the sea and the flourishing Granite City boasts beautiful architecture and cultural gems. Aberdeen City and Shire is adored by the Royal Family, and is a region with a maritime heritage which offers lively events and a selection of thrilling activities.

Contract Opportunities? 
Contracting in Scotland throughout September has been on the rise due to the demand from Aberdeen’s oil and gas industry and contractor shortages in Dundee’s video game development centre. Dundee also experienced the sharpest increase in contractor rates during the month, a reflection of the skills shortages in the city.

This is according to the latest Bank of Scotland Report on Jobs for September 2014, which also shows a slowdown of demand and contractor agency billings in Edinburgh’s financial centre.

Two of the three main contractor centres of excellence in Scotland, oil and gas and video games, are performing strongly. These sectors offer opportunities to contractors throughout the UK, as there are not enough suitably skilled local candidates to meet demand.

The Bank of Scotland Labour Market Barometer, which provides a snapshot of the health of Scotland’s entire labour market, slipped slightly during the month, but is still well into positive territory.

Bank of Scotland chief economist Donald MacRae explains: “September’s Barometer showed a continuing rise in the number of people appointed to both permanent and temporary jobs, although at a lower rate than recent highs.
The Barometer is showing almost four years of monthly improvement resulting in the rate of unemployment in September of 5.5%. The Scottish economic recovery continues.

Major industries

  • Finance
  • Tourism
  • Public sector
  • Science and technology

Major companies?

The job market in this area represents a compelling mixture of opportunity and job security, and over the past few years Edinburgh’s employment rates have reached an all-time high, surpassing those of any city in England. Edinburgh is ranked as the largest financial centre in the UK after London, with Royal Bank of Scotland, HBOS and Standard Life all having headquarters in the city.

In addition, Glasgow is a major centre for public administration, financial services, and tourism-related sectors and was rated as the best UK shopping centre outside the West End of London.

At an overall level, the workforce in this region enjoys a reputation at the forefront of various sectors including science and technology, finance, tourism and the arts.

HBOS (now part of Lloyds Banking Group)

This is the holding company for Bank of Scotland plc, which operates the Bank of Scotland and Halifax brands in the UK, as well as HBOS Australia and HBOS Insurance & Investment Group Limited, the group's insurance division. It is a wholly owned subsidiary of the Lloyds Banking Group having been taken over in January 2009.

HBOS was formed by the 2001 merger of Halifax plc and the Governor and Company of the Bank of Scotland, creating a ‘fifth force’ in British banking alongside the Big Four UK retail banks. It is also the UK’s largest mortgage lender. It’s head office is located at The Mound in Edinburgh, the former head office of Bank of Scotland and Lloyds Banking Group has stated that the new group will continue to use this as the headquarters for its Scottish operations.

The Royal Bank of Scotland Group

This is one of the leading financial institutions in the world, employing thousands of people and serving around 40m customers across five continents – with 25m of those in the UK. The Group has three main service areas – insurance, business services and retail banking - and includes some of the UK's best known brands, such as Direct Line, NatWest, Churchill and The One Account.

RBS has its global head office in Edinburgh, along with other offices in London, Manchester, Leeds and Birmingham. It also has more than 2,000 branches across the UK. There are a wide range of opportunities available and for three years running it has been awarded a place in the ‘Where Women Want to Work’ Top 50.

Heineken UK (formerly Scottish & Newcastle)

Heineken UK is the UK's leading beer and cider business and is an operating company of Heineken N.V. (Netherlands), the world’s most international brewer. It was formed in April 2008 when Heineken NV acquired the UK business of Scottish & Newcastle PLC and it was integrated with Heineken’s existing UK business.

The company employs around 4,000 people and also has around 2,200 pubs throughout the UK.
It's portfolio of brands includes Foster’s, Heineken, Strongbow, Kronenbourg 1664, John Smith’s and Bulmers together with a full range of niche and speciality brands. The company still has a large presence in Edinburgh, with its head office still based at the Broadway Park site in the city.

Standard Life

This is a leading international long term savings and investments company which includes one of the largest life and pension businesses in the UK, with more than 4 million customers. Established in 1825, it provides life assurance and pensions, investment management and healthcare insurance products to over 6.5 million customers worldwide, and has more than 10,000 employees around the world of which 8,500 are based in the UK.

THUS plc (a Cable & Wireless business)

The business now called THUS began life in 1994 as Scottish Telecom, an offshoot of the privatised energy company Scottish Power. In 2002, THUS was demerged from Scottish Power in a deal which effectively wiped out the majority of the company's debts, placing the company on a sound financial footing. The demerger also led to the creation of THUS Group plc, a holding company which owned THUS plc. Cable & Wireless completed a takeover of THUS in October 2008, but its name is still retained. The company is based in Berkeley Square in Glasgow and employs around 1,800 people.

Local newspapers

In Edinburgh, the most popular local paper is the daily Edinburgh Evening News whilst in Glasgow there is The Glaswegian and the Glasgow Evening Times. Both have very active and useful website's. Then of course at a national level there is The Scotsman, which also has a valuable jobs section on its website, and The Herald Scotland.

The team at Transition are always happy to answer any general queries you may have in regards to settling in, reworking your CV, securing a contract or setting up a limited company to reduce your tax liability? We have a number of contractors based throughout Scotland and visit at least twice a year. 

Simply call us on 02030 867 226 or e-mail Alex or Simon

Contracting, do I need insurance?

There are various insurance policies which are available to protect you in the event of an accident at work, or claims against you for negligence.

IT, Finance, Engineering and Consulting contractors provide professional advice which is relied upon by others clients to add value to the business. This means if you make a mistake in your work you have a direct financial responsibility to your client for the errors. Whilst you may consider the possibility remote, it does happen.

 Increasingly, some clients are insisting on evidence of professional indemnity insurance and having this protection will prove to your clients that you are professional in your approach and will help in obtaining future work. These policies are reasonably priced and will also provide peace of mind. In the event that something does go wrong and is your fault when on client site and you are not insured, then it is very likely you will find yourself exposed to a very expensive writ!

Here at Transition we provide all relevant insurances as part of the service, and all to required market rates, including Professional Indemnity, Public Liability, Employers Liability & General Liability.

Simply click here for a quote! 

Contact us

Contact us


To send us an enquiry please fill in the following form, and we will endeavour to reply within 24 hours

Contact Info

Transition ll UK Ltd

Registered Address: 34 Foulds Close, Wigmore, Kent, ME8 0QF

Company Number: 7928252 
Vat No: 135 2771 19
Registered in England and Wales

t: 0044 2030 867 226

Tax Returns at Home while working in the UK


In the UK, it is not obligatory for every worker to file a personal tax return each year, which is different to what is required back in Australia or New Zealand. The UK is also slightly different in that if a UK national goes abroad to work they do not necessarily have to complete a UK tax return each year to HMRC, whereas for Australians and New Zealanders working in the UK there is a commitment to report on worldwide income earned outside their home country.

For Australians, the ATO asks that if you remain an Australian resident while working overseas, you must declare your worldwide income each year (both assessable income and exempt foreign employment income), even if the payments were subject to the relevant local tax at source (where you earned the income). However, if you have paid tax on your foreign income, you may be in line to receive an Australian foreign income tax offset, which provides relief from double taxation.

In order to report your overseas employment income, it must be filed in your annual Australian tax return. Please see the following link. 

More info from the ATO 

For New Zealanders earning income, the question of whether you need to file a tax return or not depends on your New Zealand resident or non-resident for tax purposes. Typically you will remain an NZ resident for tax purposes if you are overseas for less than 325 days of a 12 month period, for example if you are working 3 months offshore and then going back to your home. 

In this instance it would mean you are an NZ resident for tax purposes who is earning money overseas, and therefore has to declare on the year end tax return by March 31. For more info on how to confirm your residency status, please look at this page on the New Zealand Inland Revenue website.

More info from the NZ Inland Revenue

Why go contracting?

So you have decided to make the move to the UK to further your career, and are weighing up the options of whether you should work in a permanent or contract role.

There are many benefits to contracting (or freelancing) - you have a high degree of independence, choosing when and where to work, and even for whom to work. You aren't tied to a fixed schedule and you are directly paid the full rate for your work, not just a portion of it like a permanent employee is. There is plenty of work out there, but you have to learn how to find it and build your contacts. This is where we can help with our network of contacts, and assisting you with building up a profile in the market.

Contracting can offer the freedom and financial gain to plan time for extensive travel in between projects; you are not tied down to a strict annual vacation entitlement that happens in a permanent employer-employee relationship. Many of our customers take off 2 or 3 months a year to travel the world as contracting has earned them the money to fund the lifestyle they want, and enjoy.

Working at a couple of different client sites each year is not only good for your exposure to new skills or technologies, it also helps you build up your own personal book of industry contacts over time, which can be the most valuable tool in terms of searching for new projects to work on and finance your livelihood.

You are also essentially your own boss, choosing when and where to work, with your work & skills being the driving force behind your success, which helps build valuable life skills that can also bode well for the future.

Whilst there is an element of risk to the world of contract working, rest assured you are not alone and that we are always on hand to offer support, even if you only want a sounding board after a tough day or to bounce ideas off!


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We have received a large number of queries from contractors in relation to the closing of limited companies due to the fact their chosen service provider is in the process of being dissolved or whereby the contractor’s provider is based offshore and hasn’t been paying employer's National Insurance contributions.

Each individual situation is different however if you decide you no longer need your limited company, Transition will review the most cost-efficient and compliant way to shut down your limited company to ensure you’re not hit with a tax bill when you return to New Zealand or Australia. In some instances contractors have been quoted in excess of £650 to close down their existing limited company!Assuming the company is not in financial difficulty, a contractor’s limited company that has been used only to provide the services of the contractor can be struck off if, in the previous three months it has not:


“Working through Transition has allowed me to retain a higher percentage of my income and with a more professional approach than my previous supplier, happy to recommend.”

Alastair, London (NZer)

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UK Horror Stories

“London is great but I wound up on emergency tax without a bank account and I lost a great deal of money, when my friends were all high earners.”

Brian, London (Aust)

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