Navigating a New World: Supporting Foreign Workers in the UK

The OnePay team knows that moving to another country and adapting to a new place, system, culture, and language is not easy. In fact, many of our team members moved to the UK from abroad and understand the challenges of the immigration process. 

“Navigating a New World: Supporting Foreign Workers in the UK” is a monthly interview with a member of the OnePay team. Here we share our personal and professional stories as well as useful insights on how to support foreign workers.  We hope you will find them useful. 

Chapter One. “Meeting with Cristina, Multilingual Fraud Investigator at OnePay”. 

Olga: Hello, Cristina. Please can you tell me about your role at OnePay? 

Cristina: Well Olga, I’m part of the Fraud Team and my job is to protect our customers and OnePay from fraudsters, scammers, and money launderers. 

Olga: Ah, I see. I also know that you speak several languages. How many exactly? 

Cristina: That’s right, Olga. I speak three languages – Romanian, Russian, and English. It really helps me to connect with our cardholders and provide them with the assistance they need in their native language. 

Olga: Wow, that’s impressive! You must be a real language whiz. 

Cristina: Ha, well, I suppose you could say that. It’s definitely a talent that comes in handy. 

Olga: And may I ask, where are you originally from? And how long have you been living here in the UK? 

Cristina: I’m originally from Moldova, Chisinau to be exact. But my partner and I decided to move to England 9 years ago, so I’ve been living here ever since. It’s been quite the adventure, let me tell you. 

Chapter Two. “Finding Your Feet in a New Country”.                                                                      

 Olga: Can you tell us about your experience of moving to the UK? What led you to make that   decision? 

 Cristina: It was a spontaneous decision to move to the UK, to be honest. Nine years ago, I had  originally wanted to move to Spain, but things didn’t work out there. My partner and I decided to try our luck in the UK and look for work. We didn’t do much preparation, as my partner had a friend in Leeds who helped us with accommodation and understanding the system here. 

Olga: What were some of the challenges you faced when you first arrived? 

Cristina: For me, the biggest challenge was understanding the local accent. Even though I knew English, it took me some time to adapt to the different accents. Speaking English was easy, but listening was difficult at first. 

Olga: I completely understand. When I moved to the UK, I also struggled with understanding the accents. I found that playing subtitles when watching TV helped me a lot. Another great discovery for me was local language exchange groups where you can teach each other your native language. It’s not only a great way to improve your English, but also to make friends. 

Cristina: Yes, I agree that it takes time and practice. Another challenge for me was feeling lonely, as I didn’t have any friends or family here when I first moved. Also, I got pregnant soon after moving here and had to take care of our baby for the first few years. It wasn’t easy, but I’m grateful that my partner was very supportive. Having someone to rely on during big life changes like this means a lot. 

Olga: I can imagine how difficult that must have been for you. Before I moved to the UK, I read a lot about other people’s immigration experiences, but it is still hard or even not possible to prepare for the loneliness. It’s great that you had your partner’s support. What else helped you adapt to life here in the UK? 

Cristina: Working, meeting new friends, and being able to grow professionally and personally helped me a lot. Nine years ago, I started a completely new life here in the UK. It was a new experience, a new chapter, and I must say that it has changed me. I can compare many things now and share my experiences with people from all over the world. Even though it wasn’t easy in the beginning, I feel more confident now. 

Olga: Thank you for sharing your experiences, Cristina. Moving to a new country is never easy, but as you said, there are so many exciting discoveries to be made that can help overcome the challenges. 

Chapter three. “Fighting Fraud: Cristina’s Journey as an Investigator” 
Olga: So, Cristina, I’m curious, why did you choose to become a fraud investigator? 

Cristina: Well, I had a great experience working in Customer Services and helping people spot fraud. I just love what I do – investigating processes and helping people. We try to educate our cardholders about fraud, scams, and modern slavery signs, which unfortunately still exist in the 21st century. 

Olga: As many of your customers are from abroad, can you tell me a bit about how you and your team support and protect them? 

Cristina: Of course. We usually contact the cardholders once the fraud was reported. After investigating, we explain why the fraud occurred and what can be done to avoid it in the future. We always remind people not to share their cards or card details with anyone, even family members. And we never ask people to call on our behalf. 

Our team always stays friendly during the investigation process. We understand that people can feel frustrated and stressed if they become a victim of fraud, and our goal is not just to investigate but also to support them. 

Olga: And I believe that hearing a native language is a great support for these people. Being a victim of fraud is difficult, and being a victim of fraud in a country that is not your native one must be very pressuring and frustrating, isn’t it? 

Cristina: Absolutely. That’s why we have a multilingual team to assist during the investigation process and explain what is happening and why it’s happening. Here at OnePay, we are fighting fraud in different languages. 

Olga: That sounds like a really rewarding job. Thank you for sharing this, Cristina. 

The final chapter “Don’t give up and remember you are not alone” 

Olga: I have one final question for you. What advice would you give to those who have recently moved to the UK or are considering immigration?  

Cristina: My advice is to believe in yourself and never give up. No matter what obstacles you face, there’s always a way to achieve your goals and find what you’re looking for. Also, it’s important to take care of your finances and watch out for financial fraud.  

Olga: Thank you, Cristina, for that great advice. Your journey inspires me! 

Olga: I also would like to highlight all the important points we covered today with Cristina:  ❗ Moving to a new country can be a challenging process, so reach out and offer support to those who have recently arrived. Even small gestures like suggesting places to visit or going out for a cup of tea can make a big difference.   
 ❗ Protect your finances by never sharing your card details or card with anyone. Please remind this valuable information with your workers 
 ✔️Here at OnePay our Fraud Team speaks many languages to ensure that your workers are always supported in any situation.  

 ❗  Remember, no matter what challenges you or your workers face, you are not alone. There are several organisations out there that can offer support and help. Here’s a list of some of them: 

  • Samaritans 
  • Mind 
  • Shout – Text 85258 to get support by text from trained volunteers  
  • CALM – Webchat and helpline   
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