A former English teacher who was prevented from returning home to Britain for 25 years after his passport was wrongfully confiscated has been declared ineligible for British citizenship due to the length of his absence from the UK.
Ken Morgan, 70, described the decision as a “ridiculous catch-22” and said the only reason he was absent for such a long period was because British officials prohibited him from traveling to the UK. You have requested a review.
Morgan moved at age 10 from Jamaica to the UK in 1960, before Jamaica’s independence, traveling on a British passport. He attended school in London and lived and worked in the UK for over 30 years until 1994 when he traveled to a family member’s funeral in Jamaica. On his way back to London he was stopped at check-in and had his passport confiscated.
He was unable to persuade British High Commission officials that they had made a mistake, and remained trapped in Jamaica for a quarter of a century until the Windrush scandal broke, when British diplomats called him out of nowhere to offer him a temporary contract. . visa to allow you to travel back to the UK. He applied for British citizenship in 2018, during his first home visit.
His application was rejected, after a delay of almost two years, due to the fact that he had been out of the country on a date five years prior to applying (at a time when he was banned from being in the UK due to the decision confiscating his passport), and that he had spent more than 450 days outside the country during the application period (a period in which he was not allowed to be in the UK).
“I regret to tell you that you do not meet the requirements for citizenship and you do not have the right to residency in the UK,” the decision letter says.
Morgan said he was horrified by the decision. “How can you prevent someone from coming back, then rejecting your application and saying: you were not in the country and therefore you are not eligible? Hi? Hi? Why wasn’t he in the field? It doesn’t make sense, ”Morgan said, by phone from Jamaica. He said he had become skeptical of the Home Office’s repeated commitments to correct the mistakes experienced by the Windrush generation. “The promised culture change has not happened. When we take the center off the Ministry of the Interior, they go back to their old ways. “
After being barred from returning to the UK, Morgan was homeless on the streets of Kingston for a time, before managing to start a small business and retrain as a graphic designer. He ended up working for the University of the West Indies and notes that he “survived adversity and prospered.” However, he is eager to obtain his British citizenship.
Morgan’s attorney, Irène Nembhard de Birnberg Peirce, said the home secretary had the right to exercise discretion in exceptional circumstances. “It is not recognized that the sole reason why Mr Morgan was unable to meet the established requirements was the illegal act of the British official at the High Commission in Jamaica, confiscating his valid British passport,” he states in the letter requesting a review. .
“It is deeply disturbing that a task force created precisely to correct the mistakes made against Windrushers could make such a fundamental mistake. Neither Ken nor his lawyers can now rely on the statements of a succession of home secretaries that they are committed to bringing justice to those who have been so seriously injured by decades of hostile policies implemented by the Interior Ministry, ”he said.
A spokesman for the Home Office said: “An independent review is under way, which was requested last month in the case of Mr. Morgan. All citizenship applications are considered on their own merits in accordance with the requirements established in the nationality legislation. “
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