Moving from the Philippines to the UK is not an easy task, but many Filipinos dream about doing this because of the promise of a higher standard living and a better future.
If you plan on doing this in the future, then you need all the help you can get. Fortunately, there are many tips available online, including the ones that are featured in this article.
Disclaimer: The information posted here is based on the personal experiences shared by the OFW in the video below. Please let this post serve as a guide only. If you have specific questions, you may ask the OFW by commenting on their video on their accounts.
What You Need to Know Before Moving to the UK
This article features the experiences of OFW YouTuber “The House Husband.” Our YouTuber received a lot of messages lately, asking him to share more about his experiences. In particular, his audience wants to know how he was able to migrate to the UK and got the accounting job.
In the video, he shares much of the process, starting from when he passed the CPA licensure exam back in the Philippines, to finally being able to work and live in the UK.
If you want to watch the original video, click on the link below:
After passing the CPA licensure exam, he immediately looked for work. In fact, he didn’t take a break, which is something he now regrets.
As a fresh graduate and a recent board exam passer, he was very excited to work and apply the skills he learned in school, and of course earn money.
1. Get relevant work experience
Usually, a new CPA passer is advised to work in an auditing firm. The common knowledge is that this is the right way to go in terms of fast tracking your career. This is indeed the typical route that Accountancy graduates and CPA passers take.
Therefore, that’s exactly what he did. He applied for an audit associate position at PwC Philippines, staying there for almost two years. During this time, he realized that he doesn’t want to be an auditor, and want to try something else.
He wasn’t enjoying his job and could not find fulfillment in the audit line of work. Also, to him, the work is very demanding of time and effort. Therefore, he decided to leave and look for another job.
2. Look for career opportunities
Then, he found work at a startup shared service company, where he describes his work experience there as being very interesting. In fact, he was able to travel to Australia because of this job, all expenses paid. He worked in the land down under for almost four months, doing training and more.
The experience of working in Australia stuck with him as being quite memorable during that time. That’s because it was his first time to travel outside the country.
After a few years of working in that company, he decided it was time for a new challenge. He wanted more by working in a bigger, global company. So he left this job, and soon he actually found a bigger and greater opportunity.
3. Follow where your heart leads
He applied in Coca-Cola, a big and global company indeed, and he was accepted for the job. He said that his work life in Coca-Cola can be described by the word, “super,” or “perfect.” One thing he really enjoys about working in the company is that the people are so nice. All the time, he is also aware that he is surrounded by people who are not only intelligent and successful, but also quite humble.
He felt fulfilled, and he cherished all achievements he obtained while working in Coca Cola. In fact, he said that there wasn’t a day when he felt lazy to get up and go to work. He even went so far as to say that this is the company he wanted to retire in.
However, this didn’t pan out, and life has other plans for him and his wife. Back then, she was still his girlfriend, and she decided to move abroad. This left him with two choices: follow her or continue his career in the Philippines.
This was like a use your head and not your heart moment for him. He chose his heart, knowing that time that he would lose all the fantastic opportunities available to him while working in Coca Cola.
He followed her all the way to Gibraltar, but before going there, he first made sure that he has a job waiting for him. He applied online in PwC Gibraltar, although not for an audit position like that in PwC Philippines, but an accounting services position.
He successfully passed the interview and managed to work in Gibraltar, joining his wife. Gibraltar is a British overseas territory which was once a part of Spain. In fact, it is located in the southernmost portion of Spain. He spent two and a half years there before proceeding to the UK.
They both work at the PwC, where his wife works at the audit department while he works at the audit department. Life was great for both of them at Gibraltar, and it was a relaxing environment.
However, because they wanted to reach greater heights and ambitions, they decided to look for greener pastures. They also wanted to live in a bigger city and a bigger country in particular.
While Gibraltar is not a part of Spain, since it is a British overseas territory as mentioned above, you can still walk across the border and onto Spain. However, since they are Filipino citizens they don’t have the right visa to visit the country. Specifically, they need what is called a Schengen visa.
Gibraltar has a relatively small population of around 30,000 people, that’s why the couple wanted to visit places. Therefore, they decided to get a Schengen visa, a short-stay visa which allows a person to travel to any members of the Schengen Area (26 European countries), per stay up to 90 days as tourists or with business-related reasons.
Getting a Schengen visa means they have to go to the UK, but going to the UK means they have to get a UK visa. In other words, the process of going out of Gibraltar involves lots of processes. They decided that this is not the way to go forward, so the plan was to look for work in the UK and live there.
4. Look for a job before proceeding to the UK
At first, he had a hard time looking for a job in the UK since most job vacancies were audit-related, and he didn’t have enough experience in that field that time.
His wife, on the other hand, received an offer to work as an auditor in EY UK back in November, 2015. During that time, he did not have any successful applications yet. She flew to the UK ahead of him, while he stayed in Gibraltar.
He didn’t want to move to the UK without a job, so he decided to continue searching online. However, it was really challenging, since he needs a sponsorship visa, and the companies that can sponsor him in the UK are very limited. Most of them, in fact, are auditing firms.
5. On getting a dependents visa
Thus, what he did was apply for a dependent visa, which would give him the right to work without the need for companies to give him a sponsor visa. That time, he was not yet married to her, but they were living in the same house, and that is enough to qualify him to be a dependent.
To prove that they were staying together in the same house for at least three years, they had to provide lots of documents as proof. They even hired a solicitor to review their visa application. To make the long story short, he was approved and obtained a dependent visa.
Having acquired a dependent’s visa allowed him to apply for more jobs from more companies, not just the ones that could give him sponsorships. So while in Gibraltar, he continued to search for jobs, this time with a wider and larger net metaphorically.
6. Don’t give up
However, he still had a hard time looking for jobs since most companies he applied into told him he should go to UK first before applying. Still, he didn’t lose hope and continued looking. He added talking to various recruitment agents during the process.
In fact, he was posting his CV to different websites. Some of these websites include reed.co.uk, indeed, LinkedIn. Among these three, he likes reed the best, since there are lots of recruiters and companies posting their job advertisements there.
7. Getting an initial, temporary job in the UK is useful
It took about six months before he finally got an offer from Hewlett Packard. The job is not for a permanent position though, but he accepted the job so that he can finally fly to the UK. This interim job offer should also provide him with the work experience that he needs.
Even if the job experience is short, it was very important to put UK work experience in the resume for future job applications in the country.
After this contract role, he got an offer to work at Grand Thornton. It’s a permanent role but not an audit position. After another year, he got another job back to industry (private companies).
He prefers working at private companies rather than practice (public accounting firms). So when he landed that industry, he was content, and promised himself he will no longer go back to working at practice.
This takes us to his current position now at industry. He can say that he is happy with his current job. Sometimes the work is busy and demanding, but he can still find time for his family and do other stuff.
There you have it, there are some very important lessons and tips we can get from the experience of the House Husband. Through his determination, not giving up, and constantly reaching for his dreams, he is now where he wants to be; working as an accountant at an industry in the United Kingdom.