Guardian: Iftikhar-ul-haq Khan, 46
Was: supreme court lawyer, Pakistan
Now: volunteer, Citizens Advice, Liverpool
In March 2010, Iftikhar-ul-haq Khan was dropping his children off at school when his car was stopped and he was kidnapped by a group hostile to the Ahmadiyya Muslim community to which he belongs. He was held for 19 days, in brutal conditions. As soon as he was released (upon the payment of a substantial ransom by his family), he made preparations to flee to England. It was clear to him that he and his wife and children would be in danger if they were to remain.
The transition was stark: “In Quetta, we had maids, a garden. We had a smooth life. In London, we shared one room in a bed and breakfast.” It took almost two years before his asylum request was granted, during which time he was not allowed to work. “That was very difficult for me, particularly from a professional point of view.” Once he was granted refugee status in October 2012 and began trying to find work, he was told that, without UK qualifications, his professional experience in Pakistan counted for little.