Brian White: Now Chief Whip Gavin Williamson intervenes in case of Wolverhampton student facing deportation

A student facing deportation and losing his place at Oxford University has been handed a potential lifeline by a key political intervention.

Government Chief Whip Gavin Williamson is to raise the case of Wolverhampton schoolboy Brian White directly with Home Secretary Amber Rudd in the hope the 21-year-old will be allowed stay in the country.

The South Staffordshire MP said: “This is a perplexing case and one I will bring up with the Home Secretary personally.

“This is a young man who has come to this country and made a real success of it. Without a doubt he will have an incredibly bright future and bring so much to this country and society.

“Everyone hopes that there can be a speedy resolution.”

Zimbabwe-born Brian was abandoned as a baby and lived in an orphanage until he was adopted by British-born Peter White at the age of six.

Mr White and his family later moved to Penn. Brian joined them when he was 15.

He gained a string of top grades at Highfields School, winning a place at Oxford University to study chemistry.

But the application process revealed a problem with his immigration status.

An application for naturalisation was rejected and he now fears being returned to his country of birth and being denied the chance of studying at Oxford.

His story has gripped the nation, with more than 96,000 people backing the student’s bid to stay in the country by signing an online petition launched by friend Luke Wilcox, 19.

The petition has been backed by celebrities including Wolverhampton’s Beverley Knight, award-winning columnist and writer Caitlin Moran and best-selling author Philip Pullman.

Wolverhampton South West MP Eleanor Smith has also been supporting Brian by making representations to the Home Office.

Yesterday Brian appeared on ITV’s This Morning alongside his old teacher Sharon Bishop.

They appeared on the sofa with Eamonn Holmes and Ruth Langsford.

Brian, who obtained three A* grades and an A at A-Level, told viewers: "When I entered the country I should have been granted a visa that gives me leave to remain, but I was granted limited stay visa.

"Everything is up in the air. Oxford wants a response by October 2.

"I'm hopeful because of the great support there is out there for me."

In a plea to immigration officials at the Home Office, Sharon said: "We think there has been a mistake and that Brian should have been granted leave to stay in Britain indefinitely. Brian's story is one of hard work and the power of education.

"He has done this in the face of adversity. He has had to wait a year to go to university while all his friends have gone off. He should be packing his bags and going to university too."

The student, who has not been back to Africa for at least seven years, feared deportation would be ‘disastrous’ as he has no family or friends in his hometown.

He previously told the Express & Star: “I try to keep it completely out of my mind. I honestly don’t see what I’ll be doing if I was deported and I don’t think I can plan that far ahead because it’s new ground.

“[Oxford University] will give me a chance to start planning out my future again and start thinking [about] long term decisions. I get to keep my friends, keep my family around, get to meet new people, go to new places and potentially open up new avenues for my future by getting a good job.

“And possibly, giving back to the community I have been part of as well and helping other people avoid this situation if they can.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We understand the urgency of Mr White’s case and are looking to resolve his application as soon as possible. Brian entered the UK in 2012 as the dependant of his parents.

“In 2014, he applied for naturalisation as a British citizen, which was refused as he did not qualify under the immigration rules. In April 2017 he submitted a further application for leave [to remain] under a different category. This remains under consideration.”

Immigration expert Louis MacWilliam said: “On reviewing his papers it seems he should have been granted indefinite leave to enter at first instance and it is not clear why this did not happen.”

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