Gamu faces deportation after review
Tuesday 01 March 2011
Former X Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu faces being deported to Zimbabwe following a Home Office ruling.
The 19-year-old singer, who was eliminated from the ITV talent show during last year's series, was ordered to leave the UK after her mother Nokuthula Ngazana's visa application was turned down.
Ms Nhengu and her family, who live in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, were hopeful they would be allowed to remain in their adopted country after the Home Office decided to reconsider her case in November.
The family's lawyer Frances Farrell said the family were "disappointed" by the latest ruling, and an appeal would be lodged.
A statement said: "The decision will be vociferously challenged before an independent tribunal.
"No steps can be taken to remove our clients during the appeals process."
Ms Nhengu and her family are said to have arrived in Scotland from Zimbabwe around six years ago.
The talented singer was allowed to stay in the country as a dependant while her mother studied at university.
She went on to become a household name when X Factor judge Cheryl Cole failed to put her through to the live shows, favouring Cher Lloyd and Katie Waissel.
Her mother's visa expired and the family's application to remain was rejected as they did not meet Home Office criteria.
The move came amid allegations, denied by the family, that Ms Ngazana had wrongly claimed working tax credits.
The family was told in October to leave the UK voluntarily or face deportation, but got a reprieve when granted a full appeal hearing before a judge in Glasgow.
Before proceedings began, the Home Office said it would reconsider the case.
Mrs Farrell said the family had been left to read about their fate in the Sunday press as a letter about the decision was only posted to them on Friday.
She said: "The Home Office cannot claim to uphold the law when its promises of confidentiality are worth nothing to this family who seeks to remain in Britain."
Ms Nhengu has claimed she would face a firing squad if she was forced to return to Zimbabwe.
On the decision to remove her, the teenager's lawyer said only that the Home Office had relied on public statements made by Zimbabwean President Robert Mugabe, "something which the Home Office appears to regard as reliable".
Ms Nhengu has received support from local politicians Gordon Banks, Labour MP for Tillicoultry, and SNP MSP Keith Brown in her fight to remain in the UK.
She teamed up with Scottish children's charity the Aberlour Child Care Trust to produce the single Where Will You Sleep This Christmas? in December.
A UK Border Agency spokeswoman said: "The applications made by Ms Ngazana and her family have been reconsidered in line with our immigration rules.
"Ms Ngazana's application was refused as it did not meet the conditions for approval. Her family, who had applied as her dependants, were therefore also refused. We will be investigating how this decision became public before Ms Ngazana was informed."
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