Syrian refugee dentist first in Wales to get training loan

Mohammed Al-Homsi
Image caption Mohammed Al-Homsi is studying for dentistry qualifications in the UK

A Cardiff refugee has become the first in Wales to benefit from a loan system that will help him regain the ability to work as a dentist.

Mohammed Al-Homsi was a qualified dentist in Syria but needs to re-qualify to practise in the UK.

He has got a £10,000 loan from RefuAid which supports skilled refugees back into work and has so far helped 12.

At least 397 Syrian refugees have been resettled in Wales, with 5,000 across the UK.

Other people to have benefitted from the scheme include a lawyer from Pakistan, an accountant from Syria and an auditor from Zambia.

A qualified dentist from Damascus, Mr Al-Homsi, 30, who now lives in Llanishen, took up work at a utilities company to support his wife and two daughters.

While he was granted UK refugee status in 2015, his degree was not accepted and re-qualifying exams to practice cost thousands of pounds.

Image copyright Getty Images
Image caption The war in Syria has led to millions of people being displaced

"Money-wise there was no way for me," he said. "My wife saw in my eyes how depressed I was.

"I was anxious to do the job that I spent nearly 10 years of my life training to do but I couldn't."

He has now received the interest-free cash to pay for exams, for which he is revising.

The loans are offered based on the applicant's employment aspirations, current situation and profession or trade.

While Mr Al-Homsi is the first in Wales to receive help, three more Welsh applications are pending.

"We would like to see an end to surgeons working as health care assistants, accountants working in kebab shops, and lawyers stacking shelves," said the scheme's lead Tamsyn Brewster.

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