ICYMI

August 24, 2023

Japa: Nigerians stranded in UK after paying ‘agents’ huge money for skilled worker visa

Nigerians stranded in UK after paying agents huge money for skilled worker visa

Many Nigerians are reportedly battling with joblessness and destitution in the United Kingdom after emptying their savings to pay agents who promised them employment with skilled worker visas.

The victims who spoke to Sky News said they left Nigeria in search of greener pastures with the assurance of getting jobs in the UK as promised by their agents, but the story turned out to be ugly on their arrival.

A victim who spoke to Sky News on the condition of anonymity on the narrow corridor of a food bank, said she is currently destitute in the UK despite being promised a job in Britain.

In the same vein, another lady said she arrived in the UK three months ago, after paying an “agent” in Nigeria £10,000 to arrange a job as a carer in the UK. In contrast, only to find out that the job does not exist.

According to them, they traveleld on the skilled worker visa organised by the travel agents or middlemen, and the report revealed that many of these Nigerians are struggling to survive, turning to food banks and even sleeping on the streets.

One of the destitute has found relief at a food bank in a Nigerian Community Centre in Greater Manchester where she is given a shopping bag of basic supplies.

The shelves and crates are packed with donations of bread, cereal, tinned tomatoes and familiar African items like palm oil and beans.

Narrating their ordeal, the victim said, “I’ve always provided for myself. I’m a very hard-working, diligent person. So for me to be here depending on people to eat coming to the food bank to get food isn’t ok with me.

“I don’t feel happy about it. It makes me feel I’m less of a person. I should be in a position of helping not receiving aid because this is not who I was back in my country. It makes me feel as though I’m a fool,” she said.

The victim also said she was advised not to contact the British company that sponsored her for fear of repercussions – but showed us her passport and other documents supporting her account of what happened.

She also added that she did not make the application herself, stressing, “I would have done it myself but there are so many frauds on the internet [in Nigeria] you don’t know what’s real. It makes me feel as though I’m a fool.”

Speaking on their predicament about how the skilled worker visas they banked on failed, she further said, “There are so many. Dozens. I met a lot here and so many are still coming after I’ve come. There’s a big scam going on.”

The founder of the Nigerian Community Centre in Rochdale, Mary Adekugbe, said those on skilled worker visas now needing support is a big issue that is increasing her workload – something she describes as “shameful”.

Adekugbe said about 15 people of nearly 40 people who generally come to the weekly food bank have skilled worker visas.

“We are overwhelmed. People are desperate. It’s so worrying. A grown-up man crying like a baby. Children crying without food because their parents can’t work to support them. No houses. No job. This is alarming,” Adekugbe added.