A LEGENDARY American session musician who worked with David Bowie and Pink Floyd as well as creating music for countless movies is battling deportation from Scotland.
Percussionist Steve Forman has been passing on his skills to dozens of students at The Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow – without costing UK taxpayers “a dime”.
But immigration rules mean he has been ordered out of the country – because his salary is not high enough.
Pink Floyd guitarist Dave Gilmour yesterday pleaded with the government to let Steve, 68, stay, saying it would be a “tragic loss” if he was forced out.
Steve, who has lived in Scotland for six years and does not claim benefits of any kind, has been teaching music students at the conservatoire for four years.
He has played on albums by artists including Pink Floyd, David Bowie, John Lennon and Fleetwood Mac.
Screen credits include creating the weird opening sounds to the Steven Spielberg blockbuster ET, as well as Last of the Mohicans and Pretty Woman.
Steve, originally from Los Angeles, needed to renew his work visa this year but was told by the UK Home Office that his academic salary was not high enough and he needed to be earning in excess of £31,000 a year.
Steve is now awaiting the outcome of an appeal. If this fails, as seems likely, he will have to leave the country within seven days.
To make matters worse, Steve has been suspended from his post at the conservatoire – which has produced David Tennant, James McAvoy, Tom Conti and Robert Carlyle – because he does not have a work permit.
This left 45 music students without a teacher for their rhythm theory course.
Students have started a petition to try to prevent Steve being deported, getting 700 signatures in 24 hours.
Pink Floyd legend David Gilmour has also waded in.
He said: “We need innovators and mentors like him.
“I find it very odd that he is being faced with being sent back to the US when he clearly has so much to offer the next generation.
“It is wonderful that he has chosen to channel his unique talent into teaching.
“His skills and approach are totally his own and as far as I know there is nobody I know of like him teaching rhythm in the UK or even Europe. “
Steve said: “Glasgow is heaven for me. It is Valhalla. I’m contributing. I’m not going to cost you a dime. I’ll pay for my own funeral. I just want to keep working.
“I’m teaching people what I know. All the other guys I worked with are polishing their Mercedes Benz and lounging by the pool.”
He added: “I don’t want to be retired. I want to empower other people.”
The Scottish Government also called on the Home Office to reconsider.
A spokesman said: “The talent and expertise of people such as Steve Forman make a welcome contribution to developing Scotland’s future musical talent.
“The Scottish Government is aware of Mr Forman’s situation and we are liaising with the Home Office on this case.
“This case reinforces existing Scottish Government concerns that immigration policy in the UK is inflexible and does not address Scotland’s particular economic and demographic needs.”
Mr Forman’s solicitor, Fraser Latta, of Latta Law in Glasgow, said he was “astounded” by the decision to deny his client a work permit.
He said: “You have to assess the interests of the public as well as the individual. There appears to be very little public interest in removing this person.
“This is someone who has always abided by all immigration requirements and has never been a problem. He is quite clearly a valuable and talented person. You don’t often come across cases where someone has spent the last 30 years in Hollywood.”
A Home Office spokesperson said: “All visa applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with the Immigration rules.
“Dr Forman’s application was refused because he could not demonstrate he met the requirements for leave to remain in the UK.
“He has appealed this decision and it would therefore be inappropriate to comment further at this stage.”