Family to make final appeal for male au pair

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The Independent Online
THE FAMILY responsible for a male Swedish au pair who is due to be expelled from Britain today is to make a final appeal to the Home Office shortly before his allotted flight out of Heathrow.

The Baughan family will ask the Home Office to change the status of Johan Egelstedt, 19, from 'au pair' to 'visitor', which would enable him to stay in England on holiday.

Mr Egelstedt, who arrived last week to be told by immigration officials that he did not qualify as an au pair because he was a man, wants to improve his English before the start of his national service next summer.

Iain Baughan, 40, a management training consultant from Leicester, said he was 'extremely disappointed' that the law prevented Mr Egelstedt staying on as an au pair, but believes that the authorities could change his status on compassionate grounds.

'Johan took a job as a hospital cleaner to save enough money to come over here. We just want to give him the opportunity to stay here long enough to make the trip worthwhile,' Mr Baughan said.

Last night, the family held a party which became a provisional send-off gathering for Mr Egelstedt, who arrived last Monday. 'He's only been here for a few days, but he's already made many friends. There would be no shortage of offers of accommodation if he were allowed to stay,' Mr Baughan said.

Among those who telephoned the Baughans with messages of support after reading about Mr Egelstedt's plight in the Independent was Iain Gow, whose son Niel worked as an au pair in France two years ago.

Mr Gow, 51, who runs his own marketing consultancy in Sandbank, near Dunoon, said his son had looked after children and animals for a family in the Loire region.

'He was the second male au pair the family had employed. There's no question that males can do the job properly and that the law we have here is absolute rubbish.'

The Home Office said last night that Mr Egelstedt would have to present his case to stay on as a visitor to immigration officials when he arrived at Heathrow today. He said he could not prejudge what the outcome would be. Under normal procedures, Mr Egelstedt would have to return to Sweden before a change in status could be considered.