Migrating to UK? Here are some tips for securing a job

March 29, 2021 12:11
Photo: Reuters

With the opening of the new Hong Kong BNO visa scheme in late January, the UK has become a popular destination for many Hongkongers who are considering a move abroad. To secure a BNO visa, applicants must show that they can financially support themselves. Therefore, securing a job is the first crucial step to successfully immigrate to the UK.

Some Hongkongers are concerned that it can be difficult for new arrivals to find a job in an unfamiliar market. However, according to a survey commissioned by InvestUK, British people have an overwhelmingly positive impression of the characteristics of Hongkongers, with respondents most commonly associating them with being hard-working, well-educated and entrepreneurial . These perceptions suggest a warm welcome could await those coming from Hong Kong to find employment in the UK.

Moreover, despite the current economic volatility, Office of National Statistics figures show that the UK job market had 601,000 job vacancies in December 2020 to February 2021 . Certain sectors where the UK economy is strong, such as financial services, technology and online services, offer many opportunities for high-quality roles. However, the key to success is to understand the UK employment landscape and adopt the right strategy.

Companies rarely advertise their openings publicly

Many Hongkongers believe that they can find a job in the UK through a recruitment agency. However, this may not be the most ideal approach because jobs are seldom advertised publicly; public job openings can often result in hundreds of applications, and companies may not have the resources to process them all. Most jobs are therefore filled through existing networks or ‘hidden job markets’ – as a result, in addition to possessing relevant technical skills and knowledge, candidates are also encouraged to build a strong network and proactively reach out.

The modern job market in the UK is digital

Companies frequently use so-called Applicant Tracking Systems during the hiring process – artificial intelligence (AI) is used to scan and filter CVs based on required skills, which can save time and remove the potential for bias. However, this means that a CV will need to be properly prepared to be read by such systems, while also showcasing relevant experience with the right keywords. We strongly advise candidates to seek professional help from a placement agency to make their CVs as most up to date as possible and relevant to the UK market.

Secondly, pre-recorded video interviews have become increasingly common in the first round. Candidates will need to film their interviews and answer standardized questions. Videos will then be screened, with AI even being used to analyse body language and eye contact. Candidates should therefore have relevant training and practice before these video interviews take place in order to comfortably use effective techniques.

Setting up your own business

If Hongkongers are willing to take on a fresh challenge, they may also consider setting up their own business as an alternative route, creating a job of their own. While setting up a business in a new country can seem daunting, the UK is a magnet for entrepreneurs and innovation, with a range of funding and support schemes in place to help businesses find their feet. There are 5.6 million entrepreneurial businesses in the country, making up 47% of private sector GDP. It is not just about the value to GDP and job creation, but also the contribution to the growth of innovation and the spur to competition that generates new ways of doing business. The pandemic lockdown, for example, has led to a record rise in start-ups and innovation, as companies reinvent whole business models and the power of the online world levels the playing field for new entrants.

When setting up a business in the UK, it is important for Hongkongers to localise their ideas so that they can grasp the opportunities available in the market. A local professional consultant who can offer advice on structuring and locating their business can be a useful ally to help them unleash the potential of their strategic ambition.

Moving to the UK under the new BNO visa scheme can offer an exciting new chapter in many Hongkongers’ lives. While there is a lot to consider, they will be met with great enthusiasm. With adequate preparation and through working with a trusted partner who can offer insights into what to expect, Hongkongers can smooth out the process and minimise issues, ultimately increasing their chances of making the move a successful one for the long-term.

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Founder, InvestUK