Joseph Rosales worked as a personal butler to the brother of the Queen in the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. He moved to the United Kingdom in 2006. From juggling jobs like being a house cleaner and waiter/bartender, he now works as full-time senior caregiver and freelance photographer.
Why did you move to the United Kingdom?
I chose UK because we used to travel to London and I’ve always loved the place. I thought it would be a better place to settle in. In London, if you work hard you never get hungry. Even if you are just a cleaner or domestic helper, you can still buy whatever you want to eat, have the latest gadget and still manage to send allowance to your family back home.
What are the challenges in moving to and living in London? How did you overcome them?
First, you’re far away from your family. Second, the visa processing can be difficult. It is very expensive. I also had limited work choices because of my restricted visa. I had to wait five years before I can manage to get a permanent visa so that I can work anywhere.
Since everything is expensive, from house rent to your daily expenses, I developed my talent in photography, which I inherited from my grandfather and mother. I managed to hold on and continue to survive even though it’s difficult.
What do you like about living in London? The things that you are still not used to?
In the UK, the health benefits are outstanding because you can go to a hospital without spending thousands of money and you can consult with your doctor and pay only the prescribed medication.
Also, the countryside has really nice roads, thanks to our high taxes.
What did you realize about yourself and about Filipinos when you moved to London?
I believe that so many Filipinos have done everything just to get here and work. Some of them even came here as students just to get a job here. But the reality is that it’s totally different than what people think. Living in the UK is not easy, everything is expensive. Luckily my family understands my situation.
Every day is a gift from God and I’m very thankful that I wake up every day healthy. I realized that even though I’m not living luxuriously (yet), I have many personal achievements for a Filipino expat who came here on his own.
How do you balance photography and your full-time job?
It is very difficult. But I am giving 100 percent to both. I believe that I am doing a great job as a caregiver. As a photographer, I love shooting fashion shows and recently been published in several magazines in the UK. I often sleep in front of the computer holding the mouse because after work I still have to edit pictures which is really time consuming. I usually only get three hours of sleep.
And I also I don’t take vacations because I devote all my free time to photography.
What tips can you give to our kababayans about living and working in London?
Work hard and be patient. It is going to be a long, bumpy road before success comes your way but be passionate in everything you do.
Expat Interview is a regular feature in The Filipino Expat Magazine. Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org to be featured.