Research Proposal: Zimbabwean Religious Immigrants in UK

Research Proposal: Zimbabwean Religious Immigrants in UK


The aim of this research is to identify the impact of religion on Zimbabweans and how religion can influence the migration of Zimbabweans to western countries. The research paper will focus primarily on the religious aspects that influence Zimbabweans to migrate to the United Kingdom and their subsequent religious experiences when they migrate to the United Kingdom. This research paper will serve the purpose of identifying and highlighting the religious rationale behind Zimbabweans migrating to the United Kingdom and how their experiences in the United Kingdom have been shaped in relation to their faith. It is critical to note that majority of the Zimbabweans are Christians hence implying that they are usually influenced mainly by Christianity to migrate to the United Kingdom. Despite having been characterized by autocratic leadership, it is important to put in mind that Zimbabwe has a relative freedom of religious affiliation (Vertovec, 2007). The only religious organizations that have been banned in the country are those that have been linked with occult perceptions or organizations that have been deemed to pose threats or risks to the national cohesion and security. The paper seeks to examine the extent to which religion has played a role in influencing the Zimbabwean Religious Immigrants in the United Kingdom and their religious experiences in the host country (Magunha, 2009).

Aims and Objectives

The aim of this research paper is also to identify the status of Zimbabwe in terms of religious affiliations and find out if there are any form of suppression from the administration. This will entail identifying whether or not the political regime directly been involved in suppressing religious freedom in the country. The paper will also look into the reasons behind many Zimbabweans migrating to western countries, especially the United Kingdom hence implying that the research paper will address a variety of questions which will be derived from the central question of the research.

Central Question

How has religion influenced Zimbabweans to migrate from their country to the United Kingdom and what are their religious experiences in the United Kingdom? The central question has led to the formulation of other research questions that the research paper will address and seek to answer. These research questions can be found below.

Research Questions

  • What is Zimbabwe’s religious status?
  • How does religion influence Zimbabwe’s citizens to migrate to the western countries?
  • Has religion played a role in influencing Zimbabweans refugees to migrate to the United Kingdom?
  • Has the migration of Zimbabweans to the United Kingdom changed their religious practices?
  • What are the religious experiences of Zimbabweans in the United Kingdom?

Literature Review

Located in the southern parts of Africa, Zimbabwe is a country that attained independence from the United Kingdom in 1980 under the leadership of the incumbent president, Robert Mugabe. The Mugabe regime has gained a reputation for having poor records in human rights and this has led to a huge row with western countries. Consequently, the country has suffered many sanctions, which have resulted in high inflation rates in its economy. Although this has been a major reason for many Zimbabweans to seek refuge in western countries and other countries, it has also been noted that many citizens are seeking refuge in the western countries due to religious reasons. The country has been noted for having the majority of its citizens subscribing to Christianity (Bloch, 2005). There are Christian organizations that have advocated for freedom from an autocratic government and this is one of the rationales behind many Zimbabweans seeking asylum in the western countries on grounds of religion and its influence. It is also critical to note that migrants to the United Kingdom have often been influenced by religious institutions because they are given sponsorships in education institutions in the host country (De Haan, 2000).

Christianity has been significant as an influence on Zimbabweans to migrate to the United Kingdom and this can be attributed to the fact that religious institutions have concerted their efforts to empower the Zimbabwean people by providing them with opportunities of migrating to the United Kingdom. This empowerment has been attained through various programs (Finch, 2005). For instance, religious organizations have offered people who have been victimized by the government owing to their political affiliation the chance to relocate to the United Kingdom thus showing that religion has played a crucial function in migration of Zimbabweans to the United Kingdom (Fetzer, 2005).

The primary influence of religion for Zimbabweans to migrate to the United Kingdom is based on their effort to look for spiritual freedom and fulfillment and the United Kingdom has been noted for its liberalization with regards to different aspects of life including religion (Gregson, 1999). The implication of this is that religious institutions in the United Kingdom are protected by the law to exercise their beliefs and engage in their respective religious ceremonies and practices on condition that they do not jeopardize the rights of other people or pose a security threat to others. This is why there is a significant Muslim population in the United Kingdom, even though the country is predominantly a Christian nation (Giddens, 2012).

Immigrants in the United Kingdom have had a more enhanced religious experience because of the freedom afforded to them through the constitution. This allows them to perform any religious rites and ceremonies without being afraid of victimization. Their experience is further enhanced by the fact that the United Kingdom offers a more developed state of religious activities (Stilwell, 2003). For instance, Muslims can pray any time they want to while Christians can celebrate various ceremonies in the country and this has been critical in ensuring that every person is offered the opportunity to exercise their faith without facing any restrictions from the authorities. This has also been instrumental in ensuring that people obtain new insights and perspectives into their religion (McGregor, 2007).

Significance of Research

The research is critical in showing how religion has played a vital role in influencing the people from Zimbabwe to migrate to the United Kingdom. Despite the fact that the religious influence of migrating to the United Kingdom cannot be said to have equal significance with other crucial rationales like political and socioeconomic factors, religion has played a critical role in people seeking refuge and asylum in the United Kingdom. This research will clearly bring out the role that religion reasons play in the migration of Zimbabweans to the United Kingdom.

The other significance of the research is that it will highlight how the religious experiences of immigrants are influenced in the United Kingdom. This will bring out critical comparisons between the experiences of the immigrant and their experiences in their native country. It is important to note that immigrants have documented an improved religious experience after migrating to the United Kingdom, and other western countries.

Research Outcomes

Research indicates that religion has played a significant role in the migration of Zimbabwean refugees into the United Kingdom and this has been critical in making sure that people are offered religious freedom. The religious perspectives of immigrants have been influenced through new and freer experiences as they continue to practice their religious faith in the United Kingdom.


Bloch, A. (2005). The development potential of Zimbabweans in the Diaspora: a survey of Zimbabweans living in the UK and South Africa (No. 17). United Nations Publications.

De Haan, A. (2000). Migrants, livelihoods and rights: the relevance of migration in development policies.

Fetzer, J. S. (2005). Muslims and the state in Britain, France, and Germany. Cambridge University Press.

Finch, N. (2005). Seeking asylum alone. The Asylum Seeking Child in Europe. Gothenburg: Gothenburg University, 57.

Giddens, A., Duneier, M., & Appelbaum, R. P. (2012). Introduction to sociology. WW Norton & Company.

Gregson, S., Zhuwau, T., Anderson, R. M., & Chandiwana, S. K. (1999). Apostles and Zionists: The influence of religion on demographic change in rural Zimbabwe. Population Studies, 53(2), 179-193.

Magunha, F., Bailey, A., & Cliffe, L. (2009). Remittance strategies of Zimbabweans in northern England. School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds.

McGregor, J. (2007). ‘Joining the BBC (British Bottom Cleaners)’: Zimbabwean migrants and the UK care industry. Journal of Ethnic and Migration Studies, 33(5), 801-824.

Stilwell, B., Diallo, K., Zurn, P., Dal Poz, M. R., Adams, O., & Buchan, J. (2003). Developing evidence-based ethical policies on the migration of health workers: conceptual and practical challenges. Human Resources for health, 1(1), 8.

Vertovec, S. (2007). Super-diversity and its implications. Ethnic and racial studies, 30(6), 1024-1054.