'WE CAN'T SUR­VIVE WITH­OUT HELP'

EX­CLU­SIVE: ASY­LUM SEEKER AT­TACKS HOME OF­FICE TREAT­MENT AS GLAS­GOW CHAR­ITY LAUNCHES CRI­SIS AID DRIVE

Evening Times - - FRONT PAGE - BY RUTH SUTER

I have seen peo­ple in my sit­u­a­tion be­come drug deal­ers. Is this what the Gov­ern­ment wants? More drug deal­ers?

COM­ING through the doors of Glas­gow’s Pos­i­tive Ac­tion in Hous­ing is 26-year-old Kourosh Pezeshki, who fled from Iran when he was a child.

Pezeshki comes to re­ceive cri­sis aid as an asy­lum­seeker, who is un­able to work un­der gov­ern­ment pol­icy.

He said: “I came to the UK be­cause of the regime of Iran, it makes ev­ery­body run away. We had a tough and hor­ri­ble life, I can say.

“The peo­ple here are warm, wel­com­ing and friendly. But when it comes to the sys­tem, un­for­tu­nately you find the hor­ri­ble peo­ple.”

Pezeshki has now been des­ti­tute for over 16 years wait­ing for his asy­lum. His case has been re­jected three times and on two oc­ca­sions, he waited more than three years for his re­sults.

Due not hav­ing a home ad­dress and a lack of com­mu­ni­ca­tion be­tween Pezeshki’s so­cial work­ers, sup­port work­ers and lawyers, he tells me that he missed a court case re­gard­ing his asy­lum in 2012.

“Ten days af­ter the court date, I even­tu­ally re­ceived the pa­per­work that showed the dates of my trial.

“The judge de­cided with­out me, but I never knew. Ev­ery­body blamed each other, my solic­i­tor blamed my so­cial worker, my so­cial worker blamed my solic­i­tor. At the end of the day, I had to pay and I didn’t have any money.”

In 2013, Pezeshki was told he could no longer study English, maths and IT at en­try level. It was from here where he be­gan to see his life spiral out of con­trol.

He said: “I even­tu­ally started study­ing, but when David Cameron came into par­lia­ment and re­fused refugees’ study fees, I could no longer study.

“Ev­ery­thing went down one by one as I started get­ting older – as you get older your sup­port de­creases less and less.”

He has spent the last six years start­ing over and mov­ing on and found him­self mov­ing from Es­sex to Glas­gow.

He lives on a gov­ern­ment sup­port al­lowance of £37.75 a week.

When I asked him how he bud­gets on this amount, he tells me: “You can­not sur­vive on this amount, so you need to get help.

“First you try your friends and ask them for help, then you see that still isn’t work­ing be­cause you’re not mak­ing any money.

“Churches have al­ways been help­ful, though.”

Find­ing him­self in des­per­ate sit­u­a­tions, Pezeshki added: “We are forced to work il­le­gally, in jobs that pay far less than the min­i­mum wage.

“I have seen peo­ple in my sit­u­a­tion be­come drug deal­ers. Is this what the Gov­ern­ment wants? More drug deal­ers? More pris­on­ers?”

In Au­gust, Pezeshki’s sit­u­a­tion wors­ened when his hous­ing sup­port was re­moved from him.

He was forced to sleep in a tent by the road­side for three weeks, where his phys­i­cal and men­tal health de­te­ri­o­rated.

Pezeshki said that he felt so hope­less he self-harmed and even at­tempted sui­cide.

He used the aid pro­vided from Pos­i­tive Ac­tion in Hous­ing to add mo­bile data to his phone to speak with his mother, who is still cur­rently in Iran.

Pezeshki hopes that one day he can be­come com­fort­able and earn him­self a de­cent liv­ing.

“If I could work, my life qual­ity would im­prove.

“I could study again or earn some money to make me com­fort­able. I don’t want to rely on char­i­ties for ne­ces­si­ties, but I have no other choice.”

In his last asy­lum ap­pli­ca­tion, the Home Of­fice ad­vised that he re­turns home to Iraq. Pezeshki is from Iran.

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