70,000 Strong Petition For “Genius” With Oxford Place To Stay In UK

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70,000 signatures have been penned for a petition to allow 21-year-old Brian White to remain in the UK and study at Oxford.

Friends of the straight-A student are campaigning for the Zimbabwean, hoping to have his immigration status changed to allow him to legally stay in the country, where he has lived for six years.

The campaign is up against it, though, as White’s place studying chemistry at Oxford’s Lady Margaret Hall College is due to expire.

Brian, who lives in Penn, Wolverhampton, grew up in an orphanage in his home country and was there until the age of six.

At age 15, he was adopted by Wolverhampton’s White family and came to the UK.

His friends and supporters say that it was then that the “maths genius” should have been given indefinite leave to remain. However, he was only granted limited leave at the time.

Some significant names including that of local MP Eleanor Smith have added voice to the campaign.

Mr White was able to defer his place for a year, but the deadline now looms ahead of the start of the new academic year.

He believes that he faces deportation back to Zimbabwe if his application to the Home Office is unsuccessful.

“I haven’t been there in seven or eight years, I don’t know anybody there. I don’t have any connections,” he said.

Brian “thought nothing of it” when he was younger and his foster family were rejected in their naturalisation application bid for the boy to become a UK citizen.

Only after studying his A-levels, in which he achieved three A*’s and an A in triple science and maths, did he learn of his lack of legal right to remain in the UK permanently.

The petition to change his status was started at change.org by White’s friend, Luke Wilcox.

“It’s common sense to allow him to stay,” said, Mr Wilcox, who himself is studying law at Bristol University.

“So many people have said the situation is crazy.

“He’s a great friend and is going to be big asset to this country, studying and working.

“We want the Home Office to show some heart and compassion, and make the right decision,” he added.

A Home Office spokesman said: “We understand the urgency of Mr White’s case and have contacted him to reassure him that we are looking to resolve his application as soon as possible.”

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