As the UK work permit continues to present problems for people from various backgrounds, the Bristol rugby team have found themselves fighting to keep one of their team members on British soil. The group has called on the Home Office to provide their gay team member, Kenneth Macharia with a tier 2 work permit so that he can remain in the UK after his request for asylum was originally rejected.
The 38-year-old rugby player is currently speaking to UK immigration consultants, though his team members say that he could be deported at any time. A judge from the home office denied Macharia's immigration UK request, claiming that the player could live as an openly gay man in Kenya, his home country. However, sex between men in Kenya is punishable by up to 21 years in prison, and there are countless stories in the media of homophobic mob violence in Africa.
A petition set up by an amateur rugby club in Bristol has called on the home secretary Sajid Javid to intervene and support Kenneth Macharia in his UK visas quest. According to the group, Macharia came to the UK as a student in 2009 to study mechanical engineering before he got his UK work permit. In a press release, Macharia said that it was difficult for him to come out as a gay man in the UK, but he could face serious violence from people in Kenya.
In previous statements, the vice president of Kenya, William Ruto has announced that he believes that there is "no room" for gay people in Kenya. Additionally, the region still counts gay sex as illegal, while LGBT campaigners warn that gay people in the location are often subject to harassment and threats.
After being held in an immigration detention centre at Heathrow, Macharia said that he was worried about what would happen to him next. According to the UK work permit petition issued by the Bristol rugby club, Kenneth's story is "yet another example" of the UK home office ignoring the impact that deportation could have on LGBT people.