Volunteering and Working in the UK (part 1)

Job hunting in the UK as an immigrant is a pain in the neck. There is no putting it nicely. I have the credentials, but companies do not want to take me on due to a lack of references located in the UK. Quite literally, I have had phone calls from agencies who have point-blank told me that they can’t/won’t consider me for this job or that because I do not have references in the UK and they don’t want to consider trying to contact my references from overseas. Delightful.

If anyone ever wondered why migrants and minorities are the hardest hit in employment during the economic downturn… well, I think I found one reason. And what a charming example of discrimination this is. And let’s make no mistake: this is a form of discrimination. Refusing to even try to check someone’s references or consider them for a job simply because they are a foreigner? Yeah, good luck justifying that.

What’s so cheeky about it is that it is so blatant. These things are being said directly to me. People tell me that discrimination in the UK is a subtle, subtle, art form, but frankly I find that it has all of the subtlety of using a sledge hammer to kill a mosquito.

So how does a migrant get references in a place they have never worked before when people will not hire them without said references? It has been suggested by some UK-born people that I should just lie and falsify information to get the work, but that is not only illegal but likely to bite any migrant in the butt later on down the road in more ways than one.

See, to lie about work experience is a big enough of a crime all on its own, but Visa conditions strictly state that if a migrant is found to have violated those conditions, the migrant can very quickly have the time they are permitted to remain in the UK reduced or revoked.

If I, for example, were to lie and say that I had work experience in the UK prior to having received my BRP that would have allowed me to do so, the UK Home Office could then turn around and accuse me of having violated the terms of my Fiancee Visa (which, we will note, does NOT entitle someone to work or volunteer in the UK). Yeah, lying about work history or falsifying references is likely to drop me on a slippery-slope to Visa Revocation H-E-double-hockey-stick.

“What about volunteering?” There’s a thought. I have been trying that avenue as well. In theory it could work rather well: volunteer, build up a reputation for excellence doing that, get work references that way and then springboard into a paying job. Not a bad thought. I just need to find places to volunteer at that will take me seriously without… (pause for drama) you guessed it… Job References. You can just insert whatever profane word of your choice here, thanks.

So, barely a week since I received the BRP and I have concluded that finding work in the UK as an Immigrant – regardless of skills or potential – is easier said than done. You can expect to see a part two in the near future.

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2 thoughts on “Volunteering and Working in the UK (part 1)

    1. Believe me, I understand your feelings at the moment. A part of me, however, is grateful that it happened to me; without the experience this behaviour could have easily continued to go unchecked and unmentioned. By getting it out there, society can look at it and collectively we can work to bring the practice to an end.

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