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A New Way for Hong Kong People with British National Overseas (BNO) Status to Get a Construction Job and Residency in the United Kingdom

There is increasing cause for optimism that Covid-safe international travel for work (and for holidays) is now safely resuming.  For many Hong Kong people that already have ‘British National Overseas’ or BNO status, 2021 offers an exciting new career and immigration opportunity to come to the UK to work in a variety of professions, including the construction industry.

Maxim Recruitment is a construction recruitment agency and we do not offer immigration or visa advice, but we are able to summarise a few reported details and signpost those interested on how to either apply directly or seek professional advice on their options and the processes involved.  Once the right to come to work in the UK has been confirmed and dates for arrival in the UK are provisionally made, Maxim Recruitment can then assist candidates secure interviews and job offers for some of the best construction jobs available in the UK. 

Our specialist areas of construction recruitment include recruiting for building and civil engineering contractors and consultants, employing quantity surveyors, engineers, project managers, planners, quantum and delay claims and dispute professionals and a range of other professional and technical construction job roles.  We have a strong track record of successfully recruiting overseas construction professionals into UK jobs, and this looks set to grow further with the opportunity and flexibility offered by the new BNO scheme.

The BBC reported Hong Kong citizens to be given 'support' to come to UK - BBC News that the new British National (Overseas) or BNO scheme launched on the 31st January 2021 has already had many applications, and many Hong Kong people have already arrived in the UK. A UK Member of Parliament, Robert Jenrick said that he expected the new arrivals from Hong Kong to make a “real and important contribution to the UK”, with professions such as engineering explicitly mentioned.

While Maxim Recruitment was founded in 2003 in the UK, where the head office is still located, Steve Thomas and Richard Poulter, Directors of Maxim Recruitment, opened HK Maxim Recruitment in Hong Kong in 2011 to take advantage of the need for both local Hong Kong candidates for construction jobs as well as the need for British and international expatriates to join major Hong Kong projects. This office is still very busy handling construction recruitment needs in Hong Kong and across Asia and into Australia.

Now in 2021, for a variety of reasons, including a construction boom and skill shortages in the UK, the situation is partly reversed and qualified and experienced Hong Kong quantity surveyors, engineers, project managers, planners, quantum and delay claims and dispute professionals and a range of other construction professionals with BNO status are being actively encouraged to use the new route to apply for a British Passport often to take up high quality professional construction jobs. 


Walker Morris the well respected UK immigration advisors state on their blog the following: 

The new route will grant leave for such individuals to live in the UK for up to five years, after which settlement can be applied for if eligible (and then citizenship after a further 12 months).

Clearly moving to a new country can offer challenges as well as opportunities, but there are some great construction career opportunities available in the UK currently, and there are many reasons why candidates from Hong Kong will be very strong candidates for exciting roles across the UK, including job roles based in London, Manchester, Birmingham and other smaller cities across England and the UK.

BBC News offers a very helpful short video about the process, and potential applicants for the BNO visa can either seek to engage the services of one of numerous visa companies and advisors that can be found, such as Shabana Muneer - Walker Morris or they can make a direct application themselves using the UK Government website pages dedicated to the formal British National (Overseas) / BNO application process at British National (Overseas) visa - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

Maxim understands that the BNO visa allows successful applicants to live, work and study in the UK, and it is not reliant on securing employment before it is confirmed (although there are other stipulations that need to be fully understood).  From the point of view of how Maxim can best help BNO holders considering applying for the full BNO visa & British Passport wanting to come to the UK to work in a construction job, we would suggest the following order of action:

  • Consider whether the BNO visa route is right for you and how best any application should be made

  • Update your professional construction CV and revise its content to refer in detail to construction projects and experience that will be relevant and transferrable to the UK construction industry

  • Have a think and conversations with friends and family to get a provisional idea of dates and the timeline to be able to travel and to start a new construction job if things work out successfully

  • Submit your proof read CV in Word format via Send Us Your CV - Maxim Recruitment and advise us of all important details including your draft timeframe and your first thoughts about preferences regarding job type and preferred location to work and live in the UK

  • Maxim will review your CV and advise of any matches to live jobs or regular client requirements we recruit for on an ongoing basis.

  • We may invite you to interview locally in Hong Kong with one of our recruitment team based in the Maxim Hong Kong office or invite you to a virtual interview via Teams, Skype, Zoom or via telephone. Through this process we can discuss and assess the chances of securing work that matches your expectations and career and salary ambitions

  • If/when the BNO Visa & British passport application is successful, let us know immediately and it would then be hoped that interviews with interested construction employers can be formally confirmed, and firm offers of employment be confirmed before arrival or soon after your planned arrival in the UK.  Clearly whether this will be possible will depend on a variety of factors that can be discussed throughout the process.

There are other countries that are also offering Hong Kong people routes to employment and residency/citizenship, and a future Maxim blog will look at some of the options available such as in Canada to secure a construction job there.

Summary


A variety of opportunities exist for high calibre construction professionals to work in different countries around the world.  Sometimes however, these construction job opportunities are significantly limited by the need to secure employment before a work/residency visa is granted.  Sometimes construction employers, including in the UK, can be reluctant to apply for visas for non-UK citizens given the extra cost, administrative burden and delays that can be encountered.  The new BNO visa/British passport route for Hong Kong people that already hold British National Overseas status offers an exciting new way in which qualifying applicants can secure the right to work in the UK separate from any specific job offer.  This new immigration route for Hong Kong construction professionals allows them to become even more attractive and competitive candidates to employers in the UK construction jobs market. 

The team at Maxim Recruitment would welcome CV applications from Hong Kong people intending to follow this new immigration route and we hope that we will be able to help.

Steve Thomas
Construction Recruitment Director, UK & Canada
LinkedIn: www.linkedin.com/in/maximrecruitment

Sources:

Hong Kong citizens to be given 'support' to come to UK - BBC News
A New Immigration Route for Hong Kong British Nationals Overseas - Walker Morris
Business Immigration Hub - Walker Morris
British National (Overseas) visa - GOV.UK (www.gov.uk)

 

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