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Charles – Information and advice is great but Unlock also gave me encouragement and support

Charles contacted our helpline following a job offer he’d received for a university lecturer’s job in China. He’d been told that he would need to provide a police certificate in order to get a work visa and he wanted to know whether his two convictions would be disclosed.

When our advisor explained that the convictions would appear on the certificate Charles became very concerned, worried that if his visa was refused then the university would have no option but to withdraw the job offer.

We informed Charles that although the process of applying for visas and disclosing convictions can be stressful, he shouldn’t assume that his visa application would be refused. We reassured him that his convictions were from over 20 years ago, he’d had a clean criminal record since then, he had a solid employment history and had already received a job offer from a reputable university in China.

We explained that many people with convictions are granted visas and that the Chinese Embassy website made it clear that disclosure of a criminal record wouldn’t automatically stop him from getting a visa.

Over the next month Charles contacted the helpline several times worried that the slow progress of his application was an indication that his visa was going to be refused. Eventually he received notification that his application had been successful.

Charles states:

“I’d convinced myself that my visa application was going to be refused despite the positivity of the Unlock helpline advisor. It turned out that the delay was due to the impact of Covid-19 which, on reflection, made perfect sense. It was good to know that somebody from Unlock was at the end of the phone and I could talk through my concerns.”



It’s sometimes the case that because of their criminal record individuals are deterred from applying for jobs, visas etc in the mistaken belief that they’ll be refused. As this case demonstrates, Charles’ criminal record didn’t stop him getting a visa and ultimately a job as a lecturer in China.

In cases like this, as well as providing information and advice to individuals, it’s important that Unlock’s advisors can offer encouragement and support.


Notes about this case study

This case study relates to Unlock’s helpline.

Names and details have been changed to protect the identity of those involved.

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