After he was forced to flee his home, Yunus had to start again in the UK. He is now rebuilding his life in Bristol and pursuing a career in cybersecurity with the support of the Refugee Employability Programme.

"My English was zero when I first arrived,” Yunus recalls, looking back to his first few months living in the UK. Like many refugees who have suddenly been forced to leave their homes and start again in a new place, he found it difficult to integrate initially. 

Yunus has been living in the UK for three years
Yunus moved to the UK in 2021 and now lives and works in Bristol.
Photo: Yunus

Overcoming barriers 

As well as struggling with communication barriers, Yunus spent over one year in a hotel room in Bristol, before the Home Office sent him to Plymouth to spend another year in temporary accommodation. 

But Yunus was able to return to Bristol in 2022, where he already had a life and friendships established. "At the end of the second year in the UK, I got my residence permit. I wanted to come back to Bristol - I already knew there and had some friends," he explains.

Finding support

Despite these obstacles, Yunus remained focused on rebuilding his life in his new community. The IRC's Refugee Employability Programme (REP), in partnership with World Jewish Relief and The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network C.I.C., connected him with housing through a charity and he now volunteers full-time selling donated goods.

Working with the REP team, Yunus also attended in-person 'English for Work' classes, as well as receiving CV reviews, practising interview techniques and learning about employment rights in the UK. Determined to expand his knowledge, Yunus is also attending an Orientation for Newcomers' course which supports refugees with the skills they need to navigate their new community.

The Refugee Employability Programme (REP) is a UK government-funded programme to support refugees to integrate into life in the UK, contribute to the economy and build a sustainable and long-term future. Read more about it here

Yunus has been living in the UK for three years
Yunus took part in the IRC and World Jewish Relief's Refugee Employability Programme.
Photo: Yunus

Reaching his goals

Yunus’ determination doesn't stop there as he now attends three English classes per week to improve his language skills and start studying again. 

"I am interested in cybersecurity," he says. "I can take a fast-track course, but I need advanced English." 

As refugees continue facing immense challenges in settling into life in the UK, Yunus' journey demonstrates the need for increased support to help them overcome barriers, integrate into communities, and reach their full potential.

What is the International Rescue Committee?

The International Rescue Committee (IRC) helps people affected by humanitarian crises to survive, recover and rebuild their lives. We work in over 40 crisis-affected countries.

The IRC in the UK

In addition to helping people in the midst of crises around the world, the IRC helps refugees living in the UK recover and rebuild their lives. Read about our UK programmes.

What is the Refugee Employability Programme?

The REP is a UK-government-funded programme that helps refugees in the UK find work, navigate UK systems, and get support with language learning. The IRC is providing this service in southwest England, along with World Jewish Relief who are delivering employment support and The Entrepreneurial Refugee Network C.I.C. Learn more.