“I am a qualified Doctor – I have something to offer – but I am stuck on benefits.”

A small but heartbreaking problem I come across is highly qualified women from other countries, now living in the UK, who desperately want to work but are stuck living on benefits.

Fatima* is a Dcotor; Amina is a Judge; Dacha is a teacher; Halima is a nurse; and Yasmin is a midwife. They are all now British citizens, but studied and practised their profession abroad.

For a variety of reasons: being a refugee; marriage; perhaps just wanting a better life, they are now living in the UK and  find themselves on benefits. When they visit an adviser they have been told that their qualification is not recognised in this country, and or their English is not good enough to practise.

A relatively small investment now to upgrade their professional qualifications and improve their English would make a massive difference to their own lives, their ability to provide for their families and move them from claiming benefits to contributing taxes.

I have started a project to monitor this issue and would be grateful if you could help by recounting your experiences like this.

I will be trying to identify ways of supporting these parents – perhaps a payment by results programme would work here. Or perhaps there are charities or professional organisations that would be willing to help fund these parents.

Any ideas you have on this are most welcome.

* Not their real names.

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