Bonjour from Paris! After several weeks in London, I have returned to the city of lights for the long weekend to take a relaxing break from the stress that has underlined much of my initial experience of London. You see, coming over to London is advertised as being as simple as 1, 2, 3. And it kind of is. 1. You Arrive. 2. You find a place to live. 3. You find a job. Not necessarily in that order. The caveat is that 2 and 3 are not as easy as it is made out to be. If you have enough money to get by for a short time, then finding a job isn’t incredibly problematic. But there are only so many nights you can handle living in a hostel. I was lucky enough to have a friend’s spare bed, but not everyone can be as fortunate.
For a lot of colonial immigrants arriving in NZ, they were coming with the promise of a job and a place to live. Some of them would have that, but others were scammed and arrived without either of those. Regardless, all of them had one major thing in common with modern Kiwis immigrating to the UK. That is, setting up a new life is hard work. Frequent interviews, flat viewings, and appointments for all kinds of different things mean that there isn’t as much time as you would like for being a tourist. And while things start promisingly, some major issues start to emerge.
Employers want you to have a bank account and a local address. Landlords want you to have a job and a bank account. Banks want you to have an address and a job. And so the cycle continues. I wonder how people who arrive without a company supporting them manage to settle themselves in.
And that brings me to the main point of this post. While in New Zealand, I organised my visa through IEP. They did a brilliant job of sorting everything out, then they passed me onto a local London company called BritBound. Wherever you are in the world, I suggest you get these guys to help you if you are moving to London. All 3 things you need (bank account, job, and a house or flat) they basically have ready and waiting for you. I arrived in London with a job interview already lined up, but things hit a snag when they asked for bank and address details. (I’m still waiting to clear their security check. It’s been 3 weeks). BritBound were able to help out with both of these. They provided me with details of an app-based banking system that only needed my passport. And they also offer a service whereby you can use their address for your mail and, effectively, proof of address, until you find a place to live. I also got my flat through BritBound.
While I wait for that job to be sorted, I can’t really sit around. So BritBound helped again, by helping me set up an interview with a casual waitering company. I got the job, I’ve worked 3 shifts, and I’ve already waited on some incredibly well known celebrities. I’d tell you who they are, but then I’d have to kill you. They also set me up with a recruitment agency, who got me a temp job 2 minutes after I left my initial interview. My excitement levels were off the charts! Add to that the fact that my recruitment agent went to school back in Manawatu with one of my cousins, and it was a pretty crazy day.
The last thing I want to say about BritBound is that they provide a great social introduction to London. Daily events, including a weekly drinks night, mean that finding people to hang out with and start settling into London life is made that much easier. I honestly don’t know where I would be without them. So I don’t know if I’ll end up successfully being employed at this job with the never-ending security check, but I do know that BritBound have my back if I don’t.