South African looking for UK work

My problem, besides being on a working visa, is that employers seem to look down on my qualifications because my experience is non-UK.

I am an IT professional with a degree and six years' experience. I have project management skills and I am a CCNA and an MCSE. I recently relocated from South Africa to the UK. My problem, besides being on a working visa, is that employers seem to look down on my qualifications because my experience is non-UK. Do you have any advice on how I get started?


Permit puts off some employers

In my experience, it may not be that your skills were gained abroad that puts off potential employers but that you are on a work permit. While many companies have a positive approach to foreign nationals, others do not, and you may also be experiencing some hesitance from the agencies you have registered with.

You have excellent skills and are obviously well-educated - where this came from is ultimately irrelevant. Lack of UK experience should not be a hindrance unless you are moving into the sales market, where a current client base would be needed.

There are things that you can do to help yourself. One would be to approach some of the contract companies that help expats find work in the UK. I deal with many, although they are predominantly for people from New Zealand and Australia. They provide advice about agencies that can help you and will advise you about potential employers, taxes and other factors that will affect you.

Look at the South African Embassy Web site, where UK-based South African companies advertise. Many embassies have this service and it is popular with foreign nationals because their experience is actually sought after by the employers rather than ignored.

You will find that looking for contract work may prove easier in the first instance because no distinctions are made apart from who is the best candidate. This would also allow you to gain the UK experience that other employers want.

Solution by Tracey Abbott, Zarak Technology

The panel: MSB International, Best International, BCS, Computer Futures, Computer People, Elan, Reed Computing, Netheads Consulting, Zarak Technology, E-Skills UK

This was last published in May 2002

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