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Thursday, 27 November 2014

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Dad-of-two faces being deported over language mix-up

A father-of-two faces being deported after living in Carlisle for a decade because he hasn’t proved he speaks English – which is his only language.

Jason Nish photo
Jason Nish

Due to a mix-up, 28-year-old Jason Nish, who lives in the city with his partner and two young children, is now faced with being deported to South Africa, where he was born.

Jason, of Peel Street, Raffles, said he wrongly assumed when filling out his forms that South Africa would be deemed an English-speaking country and he would not need to take a language test.

But the Home Office says the country is not seen as an English-speaking country under immigration rules and Jason is required to provide evidence of having an English language qualification.

However, he can’t take the test now because his passport – which he needs to prove his identity for the test – is being kept by the Home Office.

“I’ve not lived in South Africa since I was 10, and over the last decade I’ve made my life here in Carlisle,” said Jason, a specialist hospital cleaner at the Cumberland Infirmary and father to Aiden, two, and Eva, one.

“I came here at the age of 18 and have supported myself all that time. My mother is British, my grandfather is British, my partner is British, and we have two wonderful children.

“I support Newcastle United, a British football team, and English is my first and my only language.

“I even have a Carlisle accent. I’ve made my life here. I regard myself as British.”

He said he and partner Carrie Barnes, 30, had been hoping to get a mortgage but everything is on hold until he sorts out the mess.

Jason previously stayed in Carlisle because he had been granted four-year terms of residency. This time, he applied for indefinite leave. The couple set up an online petition to support Jason’s case. In less than 24 hours, it attracted more than 2,000 people.

He added: “The Home Office told me that if I’m refused at the appeal, I’ll have to go to South Africa and start the whole process again. But that could take up to six months.”

By contrast, Jason’s sister has been allowed to stay in the UK indefinitely because she was a juvenile when the family moved here.

Nursing assistant Carrie, Jason’s partner of five years, was stunned by the Home Office decision.

“It all seems surreal,” she said. “It’s a huge worry. We both work full time at the Infirmary and he was deported, I’d have to give up my job.”

As a result of the Home Office decision, Jason’s right to work has been withdrawn, reducing the family’s income.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “Our immigration rules clearly state that individuals applying for indefinite leave to remain who are not from English speaking countries must provide evidence of having an approved English language qualification. This is fair to applicants and to the rest of the public.

“Mr Nish’s application was refused because he failed to provide evidence that he had passed a language qualification. He has the right to appeal this decision.”

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