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Retired 74 year old Ghanaian man is told he isn’t British after living in the UK for 42 years

74-year-old Ghanaian told he isn't British after 42yrs in UK

In a surprising turn of events, the UK Home Office has informed 74-year-old Nelson Shardey, a retired Ghanaian man who has resided in the UK for over four decades, that he is not considered British. According to the BBC, the Home Office has advised Shardey to wait another decade before he can apply for permanent residency.

Shardey, a resident of Wallasey in Wirral, believed he was officially recognized as British until he discovered otherwise in 2019. Despite paying taxes throughout his adult life, he now faces the prospect of incurring substantial costs to remain in the UK and access the National Health Service (NHS).

Shardey’s journey in the UK began in 1977 when he arrived on a student visa to study accountancy, which also allowed him to work. Following a coup in Ghana, his family could no longer support his education financially, leading him to take various jobs, including positions at Mother’s Pride bread and Kipling’s Cakes near Southampton, and Bendick’s Chocolate in Winchester. Throughout his employment, his right to live and work in the UK was never questioned.

After marrying a British woman and moving to Wallasey, Shardey ran his own business, a newsagent named Nelson’s News. Following the end of his first marriage, he remarried another British woman, and they had two sons, Jacob and Aaron, both of whom pursued higher education and successful careers.

Shardey, who has never left the UK and considers it his home, was shocked to learn in 2019 that he was not recognized as British when he applied for a passport to visit Ghana after his mother’s death. The Home Office informed him he had no legal right to remain in the UK, advising him to apply for a 10-year route to settlement. This process is expected to cost approximately £7,000, with an additional £10,500 for NHS access over the same period.

“I cannot afford to pay any part of the money (£17500) they are asking,” said Shardey, who is recovering from prostate cancer. “Telling me to go through that route (10 year route) is a punishment, and it’s not fair in any way.”

Shardey’s son Jacob expressed disbelief over the situation, questioning why his father, who has been in the UK since 1977, should start the 10-year route to settlement. Shardey’s case is further complicated by an error he made two years ago when he filled out the wrong form to extend his stay, forcing him to restart the 10-year process in 2023.

With the help of Nicola Burgess, a lawyer at the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU), Shardey is challenging the Home Office’s decision in court. His case, supported by his sons through crowdfunding, argues that the Home Office should recognize his long residency and contributions to the community, including a police bravery award he received in 2007.

“We know that at least one caseworker has looked at his file and suggested that he should be granted indefinite leave to remain because there are exceptional facts,” Burgess said. “And when you look at it on a personal level, if Nelson was your friend or your neighbor, you would absolutely agree that he should be given the immediate right to settle.”

When contacted by the BBC, a Home Office spokesperson declined to comment, citing ongoing legal proceedings.

This Article is Fact-Checked. See Policy.

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