The Home Office UK Visa and Immigration has apologised to a man they told to leave the UK or face a possible prison sentence despite him being born and raised there.
Shane Ridge, 21, thought he would need to apply for a UK visa or UK citizenship after receiving a letter from the Home Office telling him he had 'no lawful basis to be in the UK' and would need to apply for right of abode.
The Home Office have now apologised, and confirmed that Mr Ridge is already a UK citizen.
Sanwar Ali workpermit.com has the following comments
Unfortunately because of the tough anti-migrant atmosphere these sorts of things are more likely to happen. Under pressure to be tough on immigrants UK Visas staff are more likely to take action against people without doing the necessary checks. We hope that this will not continue.
UK visa options
If the Home Office hadn't recognised their mistake, Mr Ridge may have had to apply for a British Ancestry visa. Commonwealth nationals who have a grandparent who was born in the UK, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man may enter the UK for a period of five years on a UK ancestry visa, and can then apply for permanent residence.
Another popular UK visa is the Tier 2 visa, which allows skilled workers to work for a UK employer with a tier 2 sponsorship licence, and eventually gain legal permanent residence.
Dual UK and Australian citizenship
The error occurred because Mr Ridge's mother was born in Australia. Under UK law for children born before 1 July 2006 the father's nationality only automatically passes to the child if the parents were married at the time of the birth.
However, the Home Office seemingly failed to establish that Mr Ridge's mother had dual British and Australian citizenship, making him a UK citizen.
The letter, received on August 17, told him his driving license had been revoked, and that he may face a £5000 pound fine and a prison sentence if he doesn't leave the UK voluntarily.
The letter also said that Mr Ridge's access to banking, benefits, and the NHS would be revoked.
A week of hell
"It's been a week of hell," he said.
"They've said they will sort things out and I can get a British passport, but they haven't given me a lot of information and I still feel in the dark about what's happened.
"I've lived here all my life and pay tax and national insurance. It's ridiculous."
A Home Office spokesperson said: "We have now established that Mr Ridge is automatically a British citizen.
"We have spoken with Mr Ridge to apologise for this error and the distress caused.
"When Mr Ridge applied for right of abode, we did not identify that his maternal grandmother was British and that as a result his mother had settled status in the UK at the time of his birth."
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