Bunmi Thomas, a jazz singer born in Britain to Nigerian parents is facing deportation after falling foul of controversial Home Office red tape.
Rising music star Thomas was shocked to be told she is in Britain illegally, despite having lived there for most of her life, in a chilling echo of the Windrush scandal last year.
According to the Daily Mail, She now faces being sent to Nigeria, even though her work, family and social life are all in Britain.
Ms Thomas was born in Glasgow in June 1983 to parents who had come from Africa in the early 1970s.
Changes to the British Nationality Act in January 1983 removed the automatic right to citizenship of children born in the UK to parents from former colonies.
The singer’s parents should have registered her under the Act but were unaware they needed to do so. Her plight is harder to bear because her elder sister Kemi, with whom she lives in East London, has always been a British citizen as she was born before the changes to the Act.
Ms Thomas believes she is a victim of the Home Office becoming over-zealous after then Home Secretary Theresa May introduced a ‘hostile environment’ towards illegal migrants in 2012.
The policy resulted in the Windrush scandal, which saw dozens of long-standing British citizens deported because they lacked papers proving their right to be in the country.
Ms Thomas, 36, who has performed on the BBC, said: ‘My parents came here at the end of the Windrush era.
‘I had a National Insurance number, I had my birth certificate, I’d got a driving licence, a bank account, I went to college. At no point during that process was there any indication I was doing anything incorrectly. I believe that I am British.’
Although she was born in Scotland, Ms Thomas lived with her father in Nigeria between the ages of three and 18. She thought she had dual British-Nigerian nationality when she returned to Britain. She applied for a UK passport when she was 25 but she was refused. She was granted temporary discretionary leave to remain and told she could apply for permanent residency.
But two weeks ago, Ms Thomas received a letter saying her application had been unsuccessful, and that she had to leave within 14 days or appeal, or face detention and deportation without notice.
Culled from Daily Mail
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