A man was forced to leave his home country after authorities found out he was gay.
The 33-year-old fashion designer, who does not wish to be identified due to safety concerns, says he had to seek asylum in the UK because of his sexuality, and after police raided his family home.
The South Londoner, who wishes to only be known as ‘A’, spent 20 months in the capital unemployed after filing his claim.
He had been left with no option, speaking to MyLondon he said: “An unfortunate incident happened in Iran where I attended a birthday party back in 2018 – it was a gay party and I’m homosexual, from that party I went back to Malaysia where I had been working and wasn’t aware of anything.
“Then a few of my friends got caught by police at another party after this, their phones got taken away and our pictures and videos were found with information about me.
“Through them they got to know my address and they went to my parents house with evidence of me being homosexual.
“They asked for me at my parents and checked the whole house – my family was shattered as none of them knew about my sexuality.
“I was in London at the time and far away from Malaysia where I had been working and was far from Iran – so I had no idea what to do, I wasn’t able to think straight.
“I was on a tourist visa and couldn’t do anything else besides seeking asylum and I wasn’t able to settle down in that short period of time for example apply for education or anything.”
A had been living in Malaysia since the age of 21 after going there to study – following this he was offered a job as a brand designer, and university lecturer – he spent the next nine years in the country, where he met his partner.
He had been in London to attend fashion shows when he found out about the situation back in Iran.
He said: “Based on conversations here and in Iran, I wasn’t in good mental state as my dad didn’t want to talk to me and banned me from the family and government wise I was banned too – I’m still banned from Iran, I will be arrested if I go there.
“Because of all of this I had to seek asylum in August 2019.”
But after making his claim, he was left without money as he was not allowed to work while waiting for a response from the Government.
During this time when his savings had dried up, he was forced to rely on friends.
“You can apply for permission to work but it has no value,” he said. “Because it’s shortage occupation list and if you go through list they’re all very high positions like scientist or doctor and being from an art background I couldn’t, I couldn’t even work in a restaurant.
“It was a very tough time I had to live with a friend who was very kind to house me for two years and help me through financial issues.
“I was away from partner who was in Malaysia and my family who didn’t want to accept who I was.”
After making his claim, two interviews from the Home Office were cancelled and stuck in the middle of the pandemic, A had to face an even longer wait.
Eventually he was granted refugee status in April 2021 and began to apply for jobs, sending over 100 applications.
He said: “I was in a high position when I left my previous job, I started working in a restaurant which I didn’t expect and then I was still sending applications here and there and I once I tried to apply for university and – Central St Martin’s but I had issues with my portfolio as I had nothing here with me, everything was in Malaysia, I didn’t get in last year but hopefully this year.
“There is some hope now but salary is minimum wage, but I can’t support living expenses so I have to work two jobs.
Source » mylondon