Radi's story

From: Varna, Bulgaria | Date moved to the UK: January 2014 | Occupation: Architect | Qualifications: Architecture BA

It is a hard life in Bulgaria. It is hard to live without money. As a qualified architect, there is no more work in Bulgaria for people like me, so I came to the UK to continue my development in the architectural field.

It took me a few months to find a job, but I didn’t find it difficult. I work now in an architectural studio near Waterloo station. Employers search for specialists and look at peoples’ qualifications and experience, not at their nationality. So my Bulgarian background has not been a problem for me.

I knew about the negative coverage towards Bulgarians and Romanians before I came to live here, but I think it’s just politicians speaking with the media. I don’t think it’s the opinion of the British people, it is all political.

"The media have these negative attitudes towards Romanian and Bulgarians because of what the government tells them to write"

The British government makes negative coverage towards all nations, like they did with the Polish people, but now it is our turn. It is not serious and I am not afraid of it. I think the media have these negative attitudes towards Romanian and Bulgarians because of what the government tells them to write. The media serves the government and so they write what they have to write.

If you think that one Bulgarian or one Romanian can come here and take your job just like that, then of course, this is not good for you. But that isn’t what will happen.

Before I left Bulgaria, my friends and I were reading what the British media were saying about us and it made us laugh because of the sort of things that were written. A lot of what the media said was untrue. It definitely did not put me off from coming over.

And I haven’t yet experienced any prejudice since coming to the UK and I haven’t had any bad experiences that I felt were as a result of my nationality, except maybe some conversations with previous employers. But I feel that is my problem because I am still learning English and I didn’t speak much English at all when I first came over. I think employers of course prefer people who speak English well.

So far, I like living in London. I like the city. My experience here is exactly how I expected it to be – I was able to find a job with my qualifications no problem. In fact, I have already invited a friend of mine who has specialist skills to come to the UK to work here too.

But I know it is not so easy for everyone, so you need to be patient if you want to succeed here.