...which is an issue I recently realised I'll be facing when we move back to the UK later this year, as I haven't lived in the UK since 1985
Any advice/tips you'd like to share?
Never found away round it in the short term,really was a nightmare everything needs a credit check in the UK and if you havent got any credit rating your screwed. Of course the worst thing to do is to apply for credit and be declined as that just adds to further worsen your credit rating.
What pee'd me off more than anything was my bank, lloyds TSB. When i left i paid off my credit card and my mortgage with them. I kept my bank account and had a % salary still paid into my bank and then would use my UK Debit card to draw cash out if needed in China. They sent statements to my house and gave me an overdraft and kept upgrading my account. The minute i came back to the UK and approached them for a mortgage (again!) and C/cards i would have had better response if i would of asked for a date with the managers wife.
For a longer term though i did look at it and a couple of tips.
Get an address and get on the electral role, maybe parents or relative, this is a biggie. If you have an address and are on the electoral role you will have more chance of the next step.do this sooner rather than later even if you still in Dubai.
To get a higher credit rating you have to have a good payment history, if you can obtain a c/card but make sure that you pay the balance in full each month and on time this will again help as c/card payments are a big marker in assesing credit history. There are ecompanies that specializing in giving c/cards to people with low credit such as Vanguis or capital one. These cards tend to have 30% + interest with low limits, but if you pay off full each month then the interest isnt an issue.
Keep this going for at least 6 months and upwards and your credit rating will improve. Its a long trek and will drive you round the bend but when i went back to the UK it was right in the middle of the financial crisis and banks were not lending unless you had a high credit score, think things may have eased slighty over the last year or so.