Relocation Story: "I almost lost my job offer because of a BRP error!"
Every month, Maze brings you an interview segment that explores peoples’ relocation stories and highlights their experiences living and settling in the UK.
Today's featured immigrant is an Engineer who first moved to the UK for his undergraduate studies, seven years ago. He recounts the highs and lows of his life abroad, including the time he was on the verge of losing a sponsored job offer due to a skimmed detail.
Tell us a bit about yourself.
My name is Ife and I’m 28. I came to the UK in 2013 and I have lived here ever since. I work as an account manager with a company in the power generation sector. I have lived in a number of cities but I am currently based in Peterborough.
Tell us about how you came to live here.
I moved to the UK for my undergraduate studies after I got accepted to study Electrical and Electronic Engineering at the University of Brighton. Thereafter, I pursued a master's degree in Engineering in 2015. I got my current job shortly afterwards.
More on that later, What was new and different about living in the UK for you?
What particularly struck me was how relaxed and conservative the locals were - a sharp contrast to Lagos where I grew up. Also, I observed people here seem to maximise their day. They have time to relax or go to the pubs in the evenings, unlike back home where it’s all about the daily hustle and bustle.
What challenges did you have settling in the UK?
I had to learn to be independent. For instance, my toughest challenge was learning how to cook which I only got right after several gruelling attempts. Prior to my studies in Brighton, I had already spent three years in a private university in Nigeria where there were few domestic responsibilities.
Secondly, since it was my first time living in a country with such a cold climate, I obviously had some difficulties adjusting to the cold weather.
How long did it take you to find your first accommodation?
I stayed in the school’s student accommodation so my housing was all sorted before I arrived in the UK.
What did you wish you knew before you relocated to the UK?
I wish I knew how to cook, it would probably have saved me from a lot of hungry days.
What is the best part about living in the U.K.?
The peace of mind.
I miss Lagos simply because of the friends I left behind.
However, I get to plan my day without the fear of traffic here. Besides, living in a foreign country forces you to be an adult and I found that quite satisfying.
How did you land your first job in the UK and what was your experience switching to your current visa?
Finding a job in the UK was the most demanding thing I have ever done in my life. I put in well over 100 applications and I got rejected for nearly all of them. In fact, I kept an email rejection folder.
At the time I was finishing my Master's degree, there was no option of applying for the Graduate visa ( i.e. post-study visa).
I eventually got the one and only interview invite that landed me my current job. It didn’t come easy; I got the job offer three days before my study visa expired. Considering the impossibly tight timeframe to sort out a tier 2 visa, the company almost rescinded the job offer. There’s a story there.
When I first got my Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), there was a seemingly inconsequential error with the expiry date that shortened the duration of my study visa by two months. That is, my visa was valid till October but my BRP had August 8th as the expiry date, a mere three days after my graduation. I paid little attention to this error and didn’t bother to contact the home office to correct the detail during the 10 days grace period.
On the day of my graduation, I received a call from HR offering me a position at the company. However, once they became aware of the number of days left on my visa, they almost withdrew my offer. That meant I would have to return to Nigeria, and the vacancy will be re-advertised for potential applicants in the EU before I could be reconsidered. It was a difficult scenario for me.
Thankfully, my school’s admission office intervened and got the company to confirm my appointment.
What advice do you have to offer newcomers?
Based on my nerve-racking experience I will offer just one simple piece of advice.
When you collect your BRP, check every detail for mistakes and notify the Home Office of any problems as soon as possible. Secondly, you are 100% responsible for yourself abroad and it’s important not to do things simply because others are.
Would you like to tell your moving abroad story? You can get a chance to be featured in our next Traveller Spotlight series - Drop your details here.
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