Pakistani husbands offered pre-departure training to adapt to British life

30th Nov 2018
Pakistani husbands offered pre-departure training to adapt to British life

Report Marriage, Migration and Integration by the Centre for Ethnicity and Citizenship (Image: University of Bristol)

Nadine Osman

Pakistani men migrating to join their wives in the UK face distinctive challenges, according to a new research, Marriage, Migration and Integration, by the University of Bristol.

One in five partners or spouses granted clearance to enter the UK in 2016 was from Pakistan.

The joint venture by the University of Bristol and QED Foundation delivers the UK’s first pre-departure guidance programme aimed at preparing husbands for a life in the UK.

Working with providers in Mirpur in Azad Kashmir, Pakistan, QED Foundation delivered two five-week pre-departure courses to help 24 Pakistani men improve their English and employment prospects.

The training also covered day-to-day practical skills such as shopping, banking and using public transport and health services; British society, culture and history; education, housing, law and order; as well as support with developing a community and social life.

They also interviewed two groups of men to hear about the experiences of those who had been settled here for up to four years or for more than a decade.

In a statement to The Muslim News, Reader in Sociology at the Centre for Ethnicity and Citizenship, University of Bristol, Dr Katharine Charsley, said new arrivals were left shocked to find themselves “trapped in low-paid, dead-end jobs, working long and often anti-social hours to help to support their families in the UK, whilst also hoping to send remittances to ageing parents or younger siblings left behind in Pakistan.”

The research showed that lack of time and money often prevented the husbands gaining the training and language skills needed to find better jobs and limited their ability to develop new social networks.

Many of the men interviewed in the course of the research expected to continue the same career path that they had followed in Pakistan. Instead, the only opportunities open to them were in jobs such as catering, dishwashing, warehousing and factory and retail work.

There was more disappointment and loss of self-esteem when they found that they were no longer the main breadwinner because their wives earned more. Newly arrived husbands were often dependent on their in-laws to find them jobs and offer accommodation.

Project Manager Adeeba Malik said, “QED Foundation pioneered the development of similar courses for women coming to join their husbands in the UK so we know that it’s a winning formula.”

She adds, “Other EU countries have since adopted pre-departure training and there has recently been growing recognition of the needs of Pakistani migrant wives. But so far, the plight of husbands coming to the UK has been overlooked, with the result that many people find it impossible to make the most of their existing skills and qualifications and break out of a vicious circle of low pay, hard work and long hours.”

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