African immigrants in the UK are grappling with mounting challenges as they struggle to meet rent, food, and electricity bills. The dire situation has led many to accumulate debt and seek assistance from their families back home. Despite their contributions to the country’s economy, most Africans do not qualify for government financial aid due to eligibility criteria related to income level, residency status, and immigration status.
Despite the hardships faced, the number of Africans migrating to the UK continues to rise, with a significant increase observed in those seeking temporary work in 2022. Post-pandemic study migration has also contributed to this surge.
BHM UK, an African communications services company shedding light on the financial struggles of the African immigrant community, reveals that these individuals also face job insecurity and mounting debt. Enitan Kehinde, the lead consultant and general manager at BHM UK, explains that some have turned to their families for financial support, while others resort to borrowing to meet everyday needs. As the crisis deepens, many are forced to cut down on essentials in order to survive.
Petrol has become a luxury for some, with individuals unable to afford to fill up their cars. The situation has led to measures such as reducing power usage and even skipping meals to prioritize bill payments. These challenges have taken a toll on the physical and mental health of the affected individuals.
Robert Ekat, the lead researcher, emphasizes the urgent need for attention and highlights the difficulties faced by African immigrants in accessing and navigating the UK’s social welfare system due to cultural and language barriers. He reveals that job security and monthly bills are the top concerns for this community. Economic hardship, discrimination, and uncertainty surrounding immigration policies may lead some to consider returning to their home countries, although each individual’s situation is unique, and some may choose to stay and continue working towards a better life.
Despite their inability to provide for themselves, Africans in the UK are still burdened by the expectations of financial support from their families and friends, known as “black tax.” This desperate struggle for survival further compounds their challenges.
Ayeni Adekunle, the founder and CEO of BHM UK, stresses the importance of raising awareness about the economic and psychological issues faced by Africans in the UK. Adekunle advocates for increased understanding, empathy, and support to inspire practical solutions. Highlighting the benefits the UK gains from Africans in terms of visa fees, National Health Service payments, rent, economic productivity, and income taxes, he urges the UK to provide some level of support to African immigrants, especially with the anticipated increase in migration in the coming months.
The distressing financial circumstances experienced by Africans in the UK necessitate immediate attention and collaborative efforts to address the underlying issues and ensure a better future for this community.
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