Cal’s Story

We asked Cal, a client from Zimbabwe, to document his situation for us so that we could share it with you as an example of the issues faced by our clients. Here are Cal’s thoughts…


My name is Cal. I am a refugee from Zimbabwe. I have lived in the UK since 2007. I am 34 year old. I fled Zimbabwe because of political reasons. I had to flee to South Africa and make my way here. I was being monitored and it was unsafe for me to remain at home. At this time my brother had also disappeared. It was a terrifying time. It was very hard to leave family and friends and was not a decision I made lightly.

In 2018 I became aware that my biometric card was running out. It has to be renewed every 5 years. I asked RA-C for help to renew it. Because I had no valid card I was unable to work, despite having great job offers. Because I was unable to work, I was couch surfing at the time and mail was lost meaning my application became delayed. Once the card application was finally sorted I had insufficient funds to pay for it.  The card costs £1,033 and there is a health surcharge as well. It can be up to £500 a year. Payment has to be made in advance for each of the five years of the leave to remain.

I now have no recourse to public funds (NRPF) and have just received notice from the Home Office that they intend to detain me and I am on Immigration Bail.

When I came here I trained as a Psychiatric Nurse. I graduated in July 2018.

It’s an area which has a crisis in the number of trained applicants for roles in the NHS. It’s a job I love and am passionate about. My referees say I am very good at it.

I chose psychiatric nursing for a number of reasons. Having come from a third world country where people’s psychiatric issues are not discussed and there is a stigma for people having these issues I wanted to raise my own awareness.

I am also really interested in the psyche of the human brain which obviously stems from watching the political situation back home and trying to gain an insight into how one person could be so cruel to another.

With help from Refugee Action – Colchester I am meeting an immigration specialist who can guide me through what my options are now. However, I am caught currently in a situation where I am unable to earn to pay the immigration fees and yet I am well qualified and want to work.

It’s a frustrating time and very scary for me and my friends here. I am grateful to RA-C for their support.