Socialist Worker

Refugee interviews: ‘People here are nice, but the Home Office treat us like dogs’

Fiona McPhail spoke to some asylum seekers in Glasgow about their experiences

Issue No. 2193

“I can understand why a family here committed suicide. Think about how our lives waste away while we sit and wait in fear,” a woman from Pakistan told me.

“Everybody here feels depressed. When you can’t work you lose all purpose in life.

“There are so many people here with different skills. We want to work, to contribute to this country.

“This is where I live but I can’t make it my home because I don’t know how long I’ll be here.”

“They might detain me and when they take you into detention they throw away your belongings.

“I know of families who have been detained many times, and each time they have had to buy everything again.

“The Scottish people are great and I have a social worker who is fantastic. It’s the waiting that is terrible.

“We have come here for protection but when we sign in at the Home Office we are treated like criminals.

“And the whole family has to go. Imagine what that does to the children who have to miss school every week.

“I had high expectations of what life here would be like, but I soon lost all confidence.

“The demonstrations following this tragic incident have given it back. They make me want to fight.”

A woman from Somalia told me a similar story.

“Everyone here suffers. Sometimes I think the Home Office wants to make us sick,” she said.

“I am alone and have been living in Glasgow for almost eight years. Yet I’m still waiting on a decision. Since November I have changed address four times.”

Another refugee from Pakistan echoed that pain.

“I’ve been here for a year and am still waiting on a decision,” he said.

“I came with my family. We can’t go back, that’s why we are here, to save our lives. Scottish people are nice, it’s the Home Office that is the problem.

“The Home Office behaves like we are dogs.”

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