The impact on the UK economy. Work ethics in country of origin

Benefits are not part of Zimbabwean culture. We are a people who are willing to feed ourselves and our own extended families. Like any other Asylum seeker who would wish to do so. Myself, I have been called a scrounger whilst walking on the street. I am not a scrounger by choice. But it is being an asylum seeker that makes me what I am today, that I have to depend on somebody to give me something to eat. There is a little example I can give you. Recently they have been talking about electricity for those who cannot afford electricity, like the elderly. I find that inconceivable. I can’t take that in. If a 90 year old woman has no electricity in her house and there is a 20 year old asylum seeker who lives in a house with free everything?, I can’t find any balance there. Why would an able bodied person be given things for free when a 90 year old can’t afford electricity in her own house? Because that person can’t work any more. Why can’t there be a shift of balance?

Too many people here are not allowed to work. If they were able to work they could give this community something. The Government would not be spending money paying for their houses, for their vouchers. Its a good opportunity for these people and for the government too I think. There is no good reason behind it. Let them work.  If they let us work you have to pay your rent, I don’t pay rent. But I’d still be proud, I’d still be happy. Because after that I’d be free.  But now you live with uncertainty and can’t do anything

If I was allowed to work I would be able to support myself and my family. I would be able to contribute to the economy of the UK. I will pay taxes. That means I am contributing to building the country.

It has caused me depression. If I am allowed to work I believe that I could find a job quite quickly. In my opinion people should be given permission to work and be able to support our families and contribute to the country, instead of preventing people from working and forcing them to sit down at home in front of the TV

People are wasting their lives here. I know people who have been here 7 or 8 years. Not only have they got older, but they have wasted their time, not living, not earning. Its not a proper life. These people could contribute a lot to the economy. They are just wasting their time and will not find satisfaction. I ask the Government to reflect on this situation again. If they are permitted to work they will support their families. The will have the opportunity to do whatever they want with their life. They will contribute to the economy and help build the country. These are young people, if they are not allowed to work it means they cannot support the older people and others who are unable to work. If the young people are not allowed to work, who will support the older generation? It is very good for the country for individuals, for these young people to be allowed to work.

We have just finished a survey, we are actually going out trying to educate the community, mythbusting as it were. It is quite alarming the misinformation that the public have about asylum seekers, that they come here, they are given cars, given houses, everything for free. And yet on the contrary this is a group of people who are suffering and they think they don’t want to work but they are unaware that they are not allowed to work. And that is creating tensions. Hate crime is actually on the increase here basically because of these misconceptions that people have.

Asylum seekers are not allowed to work, they have lost dignity, they begin to behave in a way that fulfils the prejudices that people have, so it becomes chicken and egg, it becomes a vicious circle.  I am sure the government is not doing itself any favours in denying these people the right to work.  They allowed them in the country in the first place and the problems that they create are problems that they will probably have little power to solve.

There is untold suffering.  Some of this, I am sorry to say, is now leading to some undesirable consequences for the entire community  i.e there is a young man who has now drifted into drugs and been picked up by police for ship-lifting on a number of occasions and it is going to take a lot of money maybe to bring him straight into the line.

I had my own business, but because of political reasons I was forced to flee my country.  I have various skills, I have skills to work in an office, in a factory, in administration, computer skills. I’ve been here for 7 years, I’ve taken some courses and know the British way of life and language because I have been here for 7 years. If I am given the opportunity for my skills to be used – the ones I had in my own country and the ones I’ve built here, it would be better

Most Zimbabweans are well educated. The majority of them are professionals. Now when we talk of an ‘asylum seeker ‘or a ‘refugee’ it is a label given to someone who is a parent, someone who has a proper name and someone who has a proper profession. So they cease to be doctors, cease to be nurses, cease to be teachers because we apply the name “asylum seeker”. But behind that name there is an individual who matters, an individual who when you take away the dignity that they have you are stripping them of themselves, they are left with nothing