THE unfolding events of Gamuchirai Nhengu’s immigration troubles in the United Kingdom have not gone unnoticed by many people who support her quest to compete and possibly win the X Factor TV show.
Her current situation exposes the reality of the hardships of many people living in the UK seeking to regularise their immigration legal status.
In a case of this nature, much depends on the nature of the application which Gamu and her family made in the first place. In the absence of details, one is constrained and unable to give precise advice.
Be that as it may, one can make a few passing observations. If at the time the mother made the application before Gamu turned 18, then she was very much dependent on that application.
If the application was made after she turned 18 years, then she was expected to demonstrate that she is not living an independent life and as such despite her age, she remains dependent to her mother.
In the premises, Gamu’s status is by and large linked to the mother which becomes a natural course of events. The resolution of the matter should definitely be in favour of both Gamu and her family. They need each other’s support during this trying moment and time of hope.
A newspaper report highlights that her visa was refused because of an investigation relating to benefits wrongly claimed by her mother. One can only guess that her application for further leave to remain could have been refused mainly for that reason.
The issue of benefits has confused many people in the UK particularly such benefits as child tax credits and child benefits. Many people might have fallen foul of this issue because of inadequate information and knowledge.
There are some who have applied and obtained such benefits. They did so in good faith not knowing that one should claim such benefits only when one is settled in the UK i.e. with indefinite leave to remain. The problem has been made worse by the organisations which assess people for those benefits. Many have been given a green light and actually received these benefits without the full knowledge that they are not entitled to them.
It becomes harsh to condemn any such person because of the positive nod from the social services in that respect. There might not have been any intention whatsoever to commit any crime by the mother as reported. I guess Gamu’s mother would on advice be in a position to explain herself fully in that respect.
The UK border Agency is known to refuse many applications for further leave to remain in the UK for all the different reasons. In my view, there is clearly established private life in her matter. The family have stayed in the UK for a long time and as such have developed ties with their community and country.
Gamu is a budding singer of repute now who has earned respect of millions in the country and abroad. Gamu has demonstrated immense talent which many people and experts alike have noted and commended. There is clear evidence from the press that her departure not only from the X Factor but from the country would hurt many people.
In making a decision to refuse Gamu’s family further leave to remain in the UK, one can argue that the UK Border Agency has not exercised its discretion properly and this would render the decision wrongful and unlawful calling for a Tribunal to reverse that decision.
This is a case which cannot be concluded solely by the UK Border Agency as Gamu still has options to challenge the decision all the way up with the courts in stages. The Human Rights Act of 1998, the ECHR and Immigration rules could all be invoked in her support.
In any event, it may not even be necessary for her to go all that far as discretion could easily be exercised in her favour by the Home Secretary. I have no doubt that in this particular matter, Gamu’s local MP is also watching and getting involved to accessing the powers that be, for discretion to be exercised accordingly. This would spare us the courts and concentrate on the music.
All those people who have signed online petitions and gathered outside Gamu’s house in support may not be lightly ignored in a country which respects democracy. She should be allowed to stay and compete.
Vitalis Madanhi is the principal solicitor of Bake and Co Solicitors, a firm specialising in immigration and asylum law in Birmingham, UK. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, Phone 01216165025, Mobile 07947866649 or online www.bakesolicitors.co.uk
Disclaimer: This article only provides general information and guidance. It is not in any way intended to replace or substitute the advice of any solicitor or advisor. Each case depends on its facts. The writer will not accept any liability for any claims or inconvenience as a result of the use of this information