X Factor reject Gamu Nhengu told to leave UK

X Factor reject Gamu Nhengu, whose axeing from the show caused a storm among viewers, has been told to leave the UK, it was confirmed today.

The teenager, kicked off the show by judge Cheryl Cole at the weekend despite being a huge hit with fans, must return to her native Zimbabwe, the UK Border Agency said.

Miss Nhengu, 18, was allowed to stay in the country as a dependant while her mother, Nokuthula Ngazana, studied at university.

But her visa has now expired and the family's application to remain has been rejected as they did not meet Home Office criteria.

The family has now been told to leave the UK voluntarily or face deportation.

A spokesman for the Home Office said the decision to axe the student from The X Factor was the business of the television show.

He could not say whether Cole had come to her conclusion after talks between immigration officials and the programme's bosses.

Officials were speaking to Miss Nhengu and her family, who arrived in Scotland from Zimbabwe five years ago, about leaving the UK. They do not have a right to appeal and the singer cannot apply separately to remain in this country.

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A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "The applications made by Ms Ngazana and her family were considered in line with the published immigration rules.

"Ms Ngazana's application was refused as it did not meet all of the conditions for approval. Her family, who had applied as her dependants, were therefore also refused.

"Where people are found to have no right to remain in the UK, we expect them to leave voluntarily."

So far, more than 210,000 fans have signed up to a Facebook page called Gamu Should Have Got Through, protesting against the decision by Cole on Sunday to leave Miss Nhengu out of the final 12.

Former X Factor star Stacey Solomon gave her backing to the starlet yesterday, saying: "I think she should get a second chance, and everyone thinks it. But we'll see what happens. Everyone loves her, she was brilliant."

At least one of the rejected contestants will be given a lifeline at the weekend as a "wild card" on Saturday night's programme, although it is thought Miss Nhengu will not be among them.

Show bosses have already denied suggestions that Cole had been influenced by visa issues.

A show spokeswoman said: "Gamu's visa being processed was not the reason that she didn't make the final 12."