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Re: Why is country of origin important to client? Misguided perception, racism or perhaps ignorance

Active Member
Walter O Member Since: Mar 26, 2015
1 of 8

I'm pissed! A client turned me down because I'm Kenyan. He likes my work, but not my country. That's bull**bleep**!

And this is not the first time. I've had clients who would rather hire Filipino than settle for an African writer. I once worked for a client who liked my work. He would pay me monthly bonuses for meeting the target. Then things changed when he hired some freak as his HR. The new head ended my contract and replaced me with a Filipino. He never gave me a reason. When I pressed him, he told me he prefers not to work with s**ty Africans.

Most African freelancers will agree with me that we have to work harder to prove our worth compared to our Asian or white counterparts. An employer treats us as second-class professionals. But why would someone be more concerned with my country of origin than the quality of my work?

Active Member
Syed Umair S Member Since: Nov 15, 2018
2 of 8

Hello Walter,

I agree with you there shouldn't be racism, the upwork should remove the limits to a client that can countries to apply.


The client should not our country we from.

Aleksandar D Moderator Member Since: Mar 23, 2019
3 of 8

Hi Walter,


Thanks for reaching out to us. I'm sorry for your bad experience with the Client. Could you please send me a PM with more information along with the Client's name so that I can send a report to our team for investigation?


Thank you.

~ Aleksandar
Community Leader
Alexander B Member Since: Mar 30, 2017
4 of 8

Hey Walter,


That's really shocking, but at the same time not surprising.


Most people still refer to Africa like it's just 1 country.


You have my sympathy, if that's worth anything.


I think Upwork should start a social impact group for Africans, similiar to what they have for Pakistanis.



Community Guru
Tonya P Member Since: Nov 26, 2015
5 of 8

I agree. It makes no sense to care where someone is from if you like their work. 

From a strategic standpoint, are you publishing work on Medium or a blog? Do you network via LinkedIn? Those efforts can help you establish your credibility and pull in clients who will appreciate what you do. The more you build your personal brand the more control you will have when it comes to choosing whom you work with. Ideally, you should be choosing your clients not the other way around. 


Ace Contributor
Miloš B Member Since: Nov 17, 2015
6 of 8

This is sad but unfortunately, there is nothing we can do against the clients' bias. Some clients don't like Balkan people, some don't like Africans, some don't like India etc...but you can't ban a client from UW for that reason. We can only do our job the best we can and hope that there will be clients who care more about the quality of work than for your background.

Ace Contributor
LIN F Member Since: Apr 30, 2016
7 of 8
It’s disgusting and you have my sympathies.
Active Member
Denise M Member Since: Jun 18, 2019
8 of 8

I'm so sorry that happened to you, Walter. Bull**** indeed. Smiley Sad


I don't know how much more than a 1-star review with thorough explanation of the reasoning you can do. I find that the review system makes a BIG difference to me when searching for clients and I'm glad that the mobile site has been updated to allow somewhat easier viewing of those when I'm considering a new client. If it's a bigger company you might also find a way to leave a review in other places online letting people know the sort of employees they have. 


Best of luck in your freelance career. I agree with the PP that you would do well to work on building your brand beyond UW, too.