Select Committee on Home Affairs Additional Written Evidence

41.  Supplementary memorandum submitted by the Zimbabwe Association



  1.  As a failed asylum seeker you are homeless, unemployed, no family or friends to support you and you cannot go back to your country. This kind of situation puts any one in a difficult position. It forces people to do illegal things like working on forged papers, working on someone's documents, turning to crime like pick pocketing and house breaking in order to be alive.

  During the time when my NASS support was stopped I was fortunate enough to have someone I knew in London who accommodated me. The person knew my crises and my political story. He had a vision that if Home Office were to look at my case carefully they must at least help me. He accommodated me, fed me, clothed me and I was basically one of his children now. As a grown up person myself I was not happy about this arrangement. During that period I was required by the Home Office to report every Monday. By reporting every Monday, meant that I have to travel by tube train to central London. My friend had a duty now of giving me £10 every Sunday evening so that I can make it to the reporting centre. This kind of life made me to try other ways of getting money such as trying to work.

  2.  Mrs V is from Zimbabwe and a failed asylum seeker with two children and Mugabe killed the husband. She is not getting NASS support and she cannot even return to Zimbabwe. She is doing illegal domestic jobs in order to pay for her rent and feed her family. She had difficulties in trying to get a place to stay because she had no valid papers as most landlords demand identity papers. Mrs V was lucky to come across a Zimbabwean who has a permanent stay and the person listened to her plea and offered her a room at a reasonable rent.

  According to the laws of this country Mrs V and the landlord had broken the laws of the land, but they broke it for the good cause. Mrs V is still signing every week. She has a duty again of making sure that the kids get the education and daily needs. It is very difficult to raise a family as a working parent. Mrs V has to raise her own children as single mother, failed asylum seeker and lastly as a non-working person. Section 4 of NASS only applies for a short period of time.

  3.  Mrs M didn't want to be pitied. "I know I am able bodied, hard working, able to do things and I didn't need people's pity." The Methodist Church and Red Cross helped her when support was stopped in October 2003 but she started working to pay her own rent, support her own children in Zimbabwe who were with grandparents, pay for her own food. Mrs M's appeal hearing was adjourned numerous times. Witnesses travelled from London to the far north on several occasions wasting their time and money as her case was adjourned again and again. After two years the Asylum and Immigration Tribunal (AIT) decided at the end of 2005 that a legal error had been made and that she should be granted asylum. The Home Office appealed against that decision. The AIT refused them permission to appeal. We are waiting to see if the Home Office goes to the Court of Appeal. The case continues. Mrs M still receives no support so she works.

  4.  Z. is working because he is a failed asylum seeker who needs cash for sufficient food to go with his medication. He needs shelter. He needs to keep his starving family alive in Zimbabwe. Some people are being forced into prostitution and other bad things like stealing but most people like Z. would prefer to be caught working than doing such bad things.

  5.  X says most people just want somewhere safe for a bit. People are running from political troubles to the UK thinking they will be assisted, but the time it takes pushes them into illegal things like working. X says "If things get all right I am ready to be the first one to go back."

23 March 2006

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