New rules leave Cameroonians out of work

A FAMILY of Cameroonians is among numerous immigrants in Weston who are struggling to survive after new Government guidelines have left them unable to work.

A FAMILY of Cameroonians is among numerous immigrants in Weston who are struggling to survive now that new Government guidelines have left them unable to work.

The Nji family is falling more and more into debt and is worried it may have to leave its Weston home and return to Africa because of the stringent Home Office guidelines which came into force this month.

Hosea Nji, aged 39, moved to the resort two years ago to join his wife, Boephe, who has been in the town for three years working at a nursing home in Uphill and has a work permit.

Hosea is listed as a dependent under Home Office rules which means he does not require a permit.

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But due to difficulties Boephe has experienced in renewing her documentation, Hosea was suspended from his job at Russell Haven Nursing Home in Clevedon Road three weeks ago.

Since Hosea has been off work, the family, of Devonshire Road, has run up a £1,500 overdraft paying for food, bills and rent. The couple has three girls, Collette, aged 17, Mah, aged eight and six-year-old Asor.

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The delay in renewing Boephe’s work permit came about after she received letters from the Home Office asking her to clarify her job description.

New robust Government guidelines for senior care workers require proof of necessary, recognised qualifications or experience before employment visas are granted. One of the aims is to secure more of the jobs for Britons and members of the European Economic Area.

The family belongs to the Weston-based Cameroon Club which is a collective of people from the African state who have made their home in Weston.

Club vice-president Walter Munde said: “Work permits are not being renewed and there are other people in a similar situation to the Nji family in Weston.

“People have left their jobs back home to work here but now the sudden change of policy is making life difficult for them. It makes their future very uncertain.”

There is hope for the Nji family as the Home Office has agreed to waive skills criteria for applications from workers already in the UK.

Mrs Nji said: “I think the situation has been handled very poorly by the Home Office and we have been treated very unfairly.”

Chief Executive of the Border & Immigration Agency, Lin Homer, said: “The work permit arrangements are designed to strike a balance between allowing employers to recruit people with the skills they need, while protecting employment opportunities for resident workers.”

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