Anthony Mbare had a dream.
In his mind, he had already visualised how his fate would pan out. The idea was to relocate from Kenya and move to foreign shores and build a good life for himself.
The destination: The United Kingdom.
To make his dream a reality, the father of three paid Ksh457,400 (£2,500) to secure a job in Britain via a visa sponsorship.
In 2022, he made the move together with his family, enticed by the promise of a Ksh3.9 million (£21,200) annual salary.
The entrance of the Jomo Kenyatta International Airport (JKIA) in August 2019.
Reality, however, upon touching down in the UK, was very far from his family’s expectations.
Mbare, working as a caretaker for the elderly, found himself grappling with unfavourable conditions for migrants in a foreign country.
According to a report published by the Guardian, Mbare was working up to 16 hours a day to cater to the elderly.
This was not what he was led to believe initially. When he was applying for the job, he was led to believe that he would be working 40 hours per week.
Per the report, Mbare also expressed disappointment that he was receiving less than the initially promised amount.
According to the Guardian’s report, Mbare was earning up to Ksh201,200 (£1,100) monthly which was less than the Ksh323,200 (£1,766) monthly salary he was promised.
Mbare also complained about his employer’s strict guidelines citing that as one of his main reasons for leaving the UK.
The Kenyan was also disappointed after his employer required him to purchase a car, which ate into his finances.
According to Mbare, the employer terminated his employment due to his complaints. To add insult to injury, the employer also declined to provide him with a reference.
“He interviewed for other care jobs and was offered them but says the process stalled as he did not have a UK reference,” the Guardian reported.
Given a 60-day window to find employment or face deportation, Mbare eventually returned to his hometown in Juja, Kiambu County after one year, where he now works as a carpenter.
He now carries the weight of Ksh1.8 million (£10,000) in debt, a stark contrast to the dream he had pursued.
Mbare finds himself grappling with the difficult decision of whether to sell his family home in order to repay his debt.
“I thought this job would make my life better,” he stated.
His unfortunate situation mirrors the challenges faced by many Kenyans who ventured abroad in pursuit of a brighter future but were ultimately confronted with a harsh and unexpected reality.
A queue at the Department of Immigration Services Passport control office at Nyayo House in Nairobi for application and renewal of Passports in this photo taken on May 21, 2018