My name is Thanos and I moved in UK 1 year ago. A friend of mine who already was here, told me about a job offer at a car wash, in Manchester. In my country, life is hard and couldn’t find any job for a while. So I borrowed some money from my mum and came in UK for this job.

How was the first job in Great Britain

Next day after my arrival I started to work, without any signed contract. I was working 10 hours a day, 7 days a week. It was exhausting, but couldn’t stop because I didn’t have any alternative. This infernal working schedule didn’t give me time to find another job or at least understand what was going on around me. The only thing that I knew was that I wanted to go in my country, for a holiday. This is how I searched on the internet about the right of holiday leave in UK and found the website gov.uk.  I read there about it, but was not sure if applies to me, as I didn’t have a signed contract.  The search continued and lead to Citizens Advice.

The email from Citizens Advice right to holiday leave UK

I read on the website that I could visit, call or send them an email. Guess what option I picked. 3 days later, I received the email from Citizens Advice: a bit of text and lots of links. After so much work, I couldn’t understand anything from it.

Fortunately, into a small chat with other immigrant neighbor, he told me about Immigrant School. I went on the website, found the course “Physical jobs in UK” and enrolled in the same evening. The name was a bit dodgy, that’s why they changed it into “Work in UK“.

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Exploring the only course for immigrants

I started with the quiz that assess my type of employment. From there, I went to the lesson about holiday leave. Once I understood what I’m entitled to, I started to wonder how to ask for my rights. So I went to the Curriculum and found the lesson “Enforce your rights“. From there I understood that even without a signed contract, I still work legally.

Next day I talked with the manager about my rights. I explained to him that I will considered myself opted out from the 48 hours workweek because I want to earn money. But in July I would like to go for a holiday in my country. He agreed and this time gave me his answer in written, too. In that evening, I came back to the course and continued to study. Until taking my holiday, I finished the parts about the working rights in UK.

There is hope beyond the email from Citizens Advice

My family was very happy to see me again. I told to them about the rights from Great Britain and my mum came with the idea to use my holiday to go for job interviews.

So, during my holiday, I studied the procedures and finding a job parts of the course. Once I came back to UK, I quickly completed the CV template provided by you and started to apply for jobs, based on what I learnt. In 2 weeks I found a much better paid job, that offered a written contract and the normal 40 hours a week schedule. Now I am more rested and managed to discover a bit the surrounding areas, too.

Thank you, Immigrant School! Without you, I would have remained an exploited immigrant.