LOTR case study follow up: Ashley has found a job! ⦁ LOTR case 跟進: Ashley 搵到工喇!

The United Kingdom

Ashley (not his real name) was one of the first LOTR arrivals on 6 August 2020 and is in his new job for the second week. We reconnected with him to share his experience so far.

You can read his LOTR arrival story here. We also caught up with him after he decided to return to Hong Kong before his LOTR expired.

We are so happy for you! Tell us about your new job. ⦁ 我哋好戥你開心,你新工係做乜

I finally started work in end August. I’m doing what I think I am best at – being a salesperson. Now I sell broadband by knocking on people’s doors while being socially distant. I get a basic salary in the first four weeks, and after that it’s commission only. 

I work Monday to Saturday. The routine is to get to the London office by 9am, and around noon we all get out and start selling internet. On weekdays I leave work at around 8pm, and on Saturdays around 3-4pm. It is more demanding than my last job in Hong Kong.

I did not sell anything the past three days, so I am “underperforming”. I really want to keep this job. If I lose it by end September, it will be even harder to find a job because I will only have four months left on LOTR status before I can begin BNO visa status. 

How many job applications did you send out? Is the National Insurance (NI) number needed? ⦁ 你寄咗幾多份求職信,需要即刻用 NI 嗎

I was sending around 30-40 applications each day for 3 weeks. I used generic job search sites, and I prefer Indeed to others. It reminded me some of the job applications that I did not finish, which was useful. 

I last spoke to someone about NI application three weeks ago. They said I have to wait until the Jobcentres reopen from COVID-19, and no one knows when that is, before I can get an NI. The government says that “you can start work without a National Insurance number if you can prove you can work in the UK.” So I wrote to the Home Office to see if they could help prove that I have the right to work but there has been no response.

With no NI yet, I applied for jobs that don’t ask for it. To work for McDonald’s and KFC you don’t need NI – but please check yourself – and these jobs pay minimum wage. The best option to me was to look for jobs with small- to medium-sized companies. Without an NI, you will not get jobs with Deliveroo or any supermarkets.

How hard is it to get a job here? ⦁ 英國搵工容易嗎

It is hard and I really underestimated how badly the COVID-19 has affected the UK. The unemployment rate is high (4.1% in May-July 2020), and many people have been fired.

The human resource person at work said within the first hour of posting a job they receive 30-40 applications. 

I have seen some amazing houses in rich areas, but I have also seen council houses that are more crowded than any Hong Kong home I have been to. That’s the reality of the UK. 

Job interviews in the UK – are they harder than in Hong Kong? ⦁ 喺英國見工定香港難啲

I have tried online group interviews and also face-to-face interviews. They are not that scary. It seems to me people care more about personality, but perhaps it’s only for my job. 

I would say Hong Kongers don’t have to worry too much about English. As long as you are OK with basic conversations it should be fine, because I have seen Africans, Koreans and Italians at job interviews and many don’t speak fluent English. 

How does it feel to be away from Hong Kong and your family? ⦁ 掛唔掛住香港同屋企人

I miss home. I am annoyed that I didn’t manage to sell in the last few days but I will do my best and it’s all up to me. My family said I can always move back to Hong Kong. Maybe.

I mean, it can be hard to fit in, but I am not disappointed with the UK. There are many good people here. 

With the time difference I can only call my girlfriend in Hong Kong in the morning, or leave her voice notes. I miss my dog a lot. He had seizures the first few days when I was gone because he missed me so much.

Image: Jay Mullings on Unsplash

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