Hussam Allahham knows how to save a life on the operating table. He has done it many times in his home city of Damascus. He can fix broken limbs, amputate, remove tumours and replace organs. As a general surgeon he has had plenty of practice with a scalpel and stitches, both in Syria and while in a refugee camp in Italy.
In short, he’d be a useful addition to a health service anywhere. Only, in his new adopted home of Cardiff, Allahham, 36, cannot practise. He has tried to regain his standing as a surgeon but prohibitively expensive language tests and requalification exams have prevented him.
His story is one that is commonly retold in different forms among the refugee population: 38% of the 10,000-plus Syrian refugees in the UK have a university education, yet 70% of all refugees are unemployed and 20% have had to change their careers to take any available job.
Read the feature in the Guardian.
[This piece was published on 16/01/19]