While news reports indicate that theviolence in Zimbabwe has calmed down and has moved to isolated troublespots over the past few weeks, many people in Zimbabwe feel that theirfuture now lies abroad. This feeling is not only prevalent among thewhite farming community with links to the old Rhodesia, but is true ofa wide cross section of the population. When farms are being occupied,farm workers are also affected. In the wider community, opponents ofthe ruling Zanu PF party may feel that they are in danger, and may befearful of the repercussions which may come from another Mugabeelection victory. In the past 12 months, foreign journalists have beenexpelled, priests have been expelled, and Zimbabwean homosexuals havecontinued to face violent attacks, as well as a fear of arrest. Thereis fear that the rule of law has broken down. There is little doubtthat the economic environment in which to establish or run a businessis deteriorating, and the value of the Zimbabwean dollar is not strong.This situation could get worse if the Commonwealth agree on sanctions.
Emigrating from Zimbabwe?
Thereare a number of options for Zimbabwean national who are seeking to moveoverseas. Often, the best destination for them to look at is the UK andthere are a number of different categories which may apply.
1) Working holidaymaker visas
Thesevisas are issued to Commonwealth nationals between the ages of 17 and28, to allow them to come to the UK for a period of two years. Duringthis time, they are permitted to take up casual employment for 50 percent of the time - either full time for 1 year, or part time for theduration. This visa can only be issued once, and cannot be extended.However, many Commonwealth nationals come to the UK under this scheme,find permanent jobs in the UK, and switch to full work permits.
2) Ancestry visas
Thisis a great option for all those with British Ancestry in the form of agrandparent who was born in the UK. These can either be applied for atthe British High Commission in Harare, or at the Home Office in the UKif the applicant is already in the UK on a visit. These applicationscan be refused if all the necessary documentation is not available, soensure that you have all relevant birth certificates, marriagecertificates, and ideally an accommodation address and some savings(£1000 should be ok).
3) work permits
This is abit more of a hassle than the other categories, as it requires a joboffer in the UK. However, if you find a job over the internet, or whileyou are in the UK as a visitor, an application can be quite straightforward, proving the job is skilled or in shortage. Most ofworkpermit.com's clients are in the IT industry, so there is lots ofinfo on this site for skilled IT professionals. However, there is alsoa massive shortage of nurses, doctors, and teachers, as well as vets,pharmacists, and a whole host of other industries. If you do not fitinto any of the other categories, please contact workpermit.com and wewill be happy to assess your cv to see if you would fit the criteria.
4) 'permit free' employment
Thisdescription could apply to you if you are a writer or composer, ajournalist, a minister of religion, a lawyer, or wish to establish abusiness. Again, you should contact workpermit.com for an assessment ifyou think this applies to you.
workpermit.comcannot advise on asylum applications, and we would recommend thatasylum is the last resort, as your stay will be severely restricted,and you would not be able to work for the first 6 months of your stay.It is not clear at the moment what the UK stance on asylum claims fromZimbabwe are, but if you feel that you are being persecuted because ofyour ethnic group, political opinions or sexual orientation, this maybe an option. Contact the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrantsfor further information.
All of these categories can lead toIndefinite Leave to Remain, and possibly a UK passport, other than theworking holidaymaker visa. workpermit.com will be able to advise you ofthis.
Traveling to Zimbabwe
workpermit.com do notdeal with work permits or immigration issues for people traveling toZimbabwe. Please contact the Zimbabwe High Commission for details. Werecommend that you read the Foreign Office travel advice before traveling.