1. Will the allowance referred to in my offer letter be subject to tax (or other deductions) or will I receive a net allowance in the sum stated in my letter?
The amount stated in your letter is net. If you receive anything less please contact the Executive Director immediately.
2. How will my allowance be paid, will I need a bank account?
London – The preferred method of payment for UK firms is into a bank account which is why we have asked you to set up an account using the Monesse app. If you already have a UK bank account then you are free to use this. If you have any challenges using the Monesse app then please inform the ILFA team. Once you have bank account details please inform the relevant HR contact at your host organisation.
Please click here to access information on setting up a Monesse bank account.
Dubai – Dubai secondees will receive their allowance by cheque on a monthly basis, the said cheques will be in local currency (dirham) and can be cashed by the addressee in a local bank using their passport as identification. Secondees will have to go to the King Wood and Mallesons office in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC) to collect their cheques. Please click here for travel guidelines to the King and Mallesons Office.
3. When will my allowance be paid?
The timing of your allowance will largely be determined by your host organisation. Some sponsors will pay you weekly or fortnightly and others prefer to pay the allowance in arrears at the end of each month. You are advised to speak with the relevant HR contact at your host firm to discuss this.
4. What else do I need to know about managing with finances whilst on secondment?
As indicated above, depending on your host organisation, your allowance will be paid to you weekly, fortnightly or monthly. In order to avoid running short of money before receiving your first allowance, it is advisable to carry a sufficient amount of foreign currency with you (£200 is considered sufficient for those staying in London) to cover your expenditure for the first few weeks of your overseas stay. A visa card issued by a bank in your country may also be used in making purchases in several retail outlets or to withdraw cash from an ATM machine. You would however need to confirm this with your local bank and find out the charges involved.
5. What is a National Insurance number and what is it needed for?
Everyone who comes to the UK to work must obtain a National Insurance number. National Insurance is a tax on earnings and self-employed profits. National Insurance is paid by employers, as well as employees and self-employed workers, until they reach state pension age. National Insurance numbers are set by the Department of Work and Pensions. Each number is unique – they are used to identify you so the government knows how much tax you have paid. Each person is only assigned one National Insurance number and it contains two letters, six numbers and a final letter.
Please click here to see how a National Insurance Number can be obtained.
6. Do I have to take out travel insurance?
Whilst it is not compulsory that you have travel insurance, ILFA highly recommends that you do take insurance particularly for overseas travel such as that involved in the ILFA secondment.
By taking out travel insurance you are essentially covering yourself against travel risks such as lost or stolen luggage, cancellation cover (should you not be able to travel due to unexpected medical reasons) and most importantly, unexpected medical costs abroad. Another important benefit of travel insurance is that it provides protection against trip cancellation and interruption.
7. Do I have a choice as to where I will reside during the secondment?
No. You are required to stay in the accommodation organised by ILFA.
8. Will I be expected to pay utility bills whilst staying at the residence?
No. Your secondment sponsorship is inclusive of all such expenses. The only things you are expected to be responsible for are your meals and other personal expenses such as entertainment, laundry and cleaning etc.
9. What items will I need to bring along for my accommodation?
The accommodation is fully furnished (including beddings, kitchen utensils and other home appliances). You are only required to bring clothing and other personal effects. Please click here for a suggested list of items to pack.
10. Upon arrival how will I get from the airport to my accommodation ?
Sponsor firms will usually arrange for a car or taxi to pick you up and take you to your accommodation. However you will need to speak to the HR contact at your host organisation to discuss and agree this before your departure from your home jurisdiction. It is very important that you travel with a hard copy version of the address (including the post code) of your accommodation and the contact details of a contact at your host firm and of an ILFA representative. You may be asked for this information on arrival by the immigration officers.
11. How will I travel around the city once I arrive?
London – Your host organisation will provide you with an Oyster card to enable you travel to and from work and to attend other ILFA activities. The card will usually be given to you during your first few days either by the firm or by a member of the ILFA team. In the event that there is a delay in receiving your oyster card, you are asked to cover the cost of transportation yourself and keep the receipts so that the expense can be refunded once you begin your placement. In the event that you have to do this, it is advisable to purchase a weekly pass rather than daily tickets.
Dubai – The metro in Dubai is a fully-automated, driverless railway system. Dubai Metro tickets must be purchased in the form of a Nol card – which can also be used to pay for bus, tram and taxi fare – and rides can cost as little as AED3. Discover the city by its metro stations or use the journey planner app, Wojhati, to make the most of your Dubai itinerary. You can purchase a NOL card from the teller at the metro station and this card can be topped up when it is needed. Please remember to keep your receipts as these can be expenses claimed back to the company.
12. Which travel zones will the Oyster card cover?
London is organised into several travel zones. When using the tube or other train networks within London, different fares apply when travelling to the different zones. Usually the oyster card you will be given will cover the zones that you live and work in. If you subsequently travel out of these zones you will have to top up your oyster cards at the readily available machines or ticket/assistance desks at the various train stations. Top up cost a minimum of £5. Visit www.tfl.gov.uk for more information on the Oyster card.
13. How do I find my route to work?
ILFA will provide a handbook with addresses for all host organisation offices and also for the various training sessions you are required to attend. One of the best ways to get acquainted with planning your travel routes online is to use www.tfl.gov.uk. This is a great website to have access to as it provides up to date information on all the public transport routes i.e. buses, tubes and trains etc. There are often minor delays and planned engineering works, so using the website means you can anticipate these and find alternative routes for your travel. Another useful site is www.walkit.com which helps you plan walking routes. This is worth considering as sometimes it is actually faster (and healthier) to walk rather than taking the tube.
The Dubaimetro website is an essential tool for learning more about the public transport system. You can use the RTA Wojharti journey planner to find the best routes, check station cancellations and download transport service information.
We strongly advise that you do a test run to your work place, a day or so before you begin your placement so that you familiarise yourself with the route and so that you have an accurate sense of the expected travel time. This will help ensure that you avoid arriving for work late on your first day.
14. Are all my travel costs covered?
No. Please note that the Oyster card only covers your transportation within London. If you wish to travel out of London for non secondment related activities, you will have to pay for that yourself. Your host organisation will however pay for your transportation to any secondment related events that take outside London.
15. I would like to travel outside the UK to visit other European countries during my stay in London. Will my visa allow me to do that?
If you want to travel outside the UK, you must have a Schengen visa from your home country before you enter the UK. Alternatively, you can apply for your Schengen visa from the UK. The Schengen visa costs about £60 and it normally takes 15 days to be processed. In rare cases where additional documentation is required, it can take up to 60 days.
Please click here for all the relevant information on how to apply for a Schengen Visa.
Host Organisation Obligations
16. Will the host organisation cover excess luggage?
No. The host organisation is under no obligation to do this. However they may agree to do this at their discretion. You are advised to discuss directly with the HR department at your host organisation
17. Will I be given annual leave or can l I accrue payment in lieu of holiday?
According to your participation agreement, holiday time (paid or unpaid) is prohibited. You are not entitled to holiday time or pay during the course of the programme. Bank holidays are national holidays where all offices are closed. You must report to work during the work hours from Monday to Friday except for bank holidays (national holidays). Be sure to schedule touring and travel on weekends and bank holidays
Other Things I Need to Know
18. What is the postcode of my residential address and why is it important to me?
The postcode of your residential address or any other postcode (the alpha numeric code at the end of your address e.g. SE4 1ST) gives the most accurate description of your location. It is important that you write down or memorise your postcode so as to ensure that your residence can be found without delay. This is particularly important in the event of an emergency or in case you are lost and must seek assistance. Whenever you get lost, you can always stop a taxi.
19. What is the ILFA Buddy?
Each ILFA secondee is allocated at least one buddy within the host organization. The aim of the ILFA Buddy system is to ensure that each secondee has an internal peer within the host organization who assumes responsibility for the secondee and to whom the secondee can go to and be supported by during the placement. The ILFA Buddy will usually be a fee earner within or with an interest in the firm’s Africa practice who can act as a mentor to the secondee. It is the buddy’s role to provide insight into the day-to-day activities of the host organisation and to help the secondee become familiar with the host organisations inner workings and culture.