FORMER X Factor hopeful Gamu Nhengu and her family have been granted the right to appeal against a decision to deport them from the UK.
The 18-year-old singer’s mother Nokuthula Ngazana had an application to extend her working visa rejected last month by the Home Office, after she allegedly received £16,000 in tax credits she was not entitled to.
But the family – who have been living in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, for eight years – have been given the right to contest the claims during a hearing at the Immigration Court in Glasgow on 26 November.
Ms Ngazana, 42, the widow of a lawyer in Zimbabwe, came to Scotland to study nursing eight years ago but her visa expired and has not been extended.
Gamu and her two younger brothers Milton, 12, and Marty, five, have been waiting patiently with their mother to find out their fate.
It is understood that the family were told to leave the UK voluntarily or face deportation.
Solicitor Frances Farrell previously argued that Ms Ngazana was told by the Inland Revenue to apply for the tax credits and that they were aware of her immigration status.
She said: “The Home Office had claimed the family had no rights of appeal and could be returned to Zimbabwe.
“This is a major breakthrough and the family is relieved to secure the hearing before an immigration judge.”
Keith Brown, MSP for Tillicoultry, said he was delighted by reports that Gamu and her family have been granted the right to appeal the decision.
Mr Brown, who has been supporting the family’s right to stay, said: “I am delighted to learn that the UK Border Agency has finally decided to give Gamu and her family the right to appeal the decision which would see them forced to leave what has been their home for the last eight years.
“Nokotula Ngazana, Gamu’s mother, has been working in Scotland under a Fresh Talent visa and has valuable skills which are in demand.
“She has supported her family and contributed economically.
“The whole family have become part of the local community and there is very strong support for the family locally.
“Given this and the real fears about the situation which Gamu and her family could face should they have to return to Zimbabwe, I hope very much that the UK Border Agency will do the right thing and that their appeal will be upheld.”
REPORT: Christine Lavelle