I was running out of money and couldn't find a job as a developer in Moscow due to language barriers (also, developers don't get paid very well over there) - I tried to apply for jobs in London from Moscow but recruiters were ignoring my resume (probably because I was in Russia and didn't have a UK phone number). So I decided to fly to London and rent various AirBnBs (changing every week or so) while desperately applying for jobs and attending interviews. Thankfully my risky strategy worked out in the end and I managed to get a decent job and found an apartment in London.
By the way, Russia is a particularly bad choice. Russians are not permitted to work in London, it's outside of Europe and there is no immigration agreement. The resume won't survive the first pass from HR.
Remember that you're competing against 300 million Europeans who can move to and work in London overnight. You better have a great profile to be worth the hassle. Forget about low level roles and smaller companies.
Let's ignore for a minute that the parent was not Russian. Having a Russian number is a red flag that the candidate may be abroad and not have the right to work in the UK. It's definitely screened out by HR.
London is full of employed Russians so your information is perhaps outdated.
Also, the prospect of ending up homeless in Russia without speaking the language was much more terrifying than being homeless in London; at least I would know how to beg in English lol. So I had a strong incentive to move even though I knew that my situation would become a race against time.
I never meet anyone from my actual company until 7 months after being hired... So I guess that just seems normal to me...
Isn't that the kind of situation that you can turn up to the Aust consulate and say "Need ticket home!", which they'll generally make happen (for Aust citizens, in actual need).
If you have a high income at least you can get into AirBnBs or hotels, because they don't do credit checks.