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74-year-old Ghanaian denied UK residency despite 47-year stay, two British marriages

A Ghanaian has instituted a suit against the United Kingdom Home Office after he was denied permanent residency. Mr. Nelson Shardey has lived in UK for 47 years.

The Ghanaian is a retired 74-year-old man who arrived in the UK in 1977.

Shardey was advised to wait another 10 years before the Home Office could grant him permanent residency, the BBC reports.

Shardey had, for many years, assumed that he was officially British after he first arrived in the UK in 1977 to study accountancy on a student visa that also allowed him to work.

He only discovered otherwise in 2019 and, despite paying taxes all his adult life, he now faces paying thousands of pounds to enable him to stay and use the National Health Service, the report added.

“I have never left the UK, as I saw no need to and regarded it as my home. Nobody questioned me. I bought all my things on credit, even the house.

“I got a mortgage. And nobody questioned me about anything,” Shardy, a retired news agent, told the BBC.

Explaining further, he said he took on a series of jobs, making Mother’s Pride bread and Kipling’s Cakes near Southampton, and Bendick’s Chocolate in Winchester after a coup in his native Ghana that contributed to his family’s inability to send him money for his tuition.

He added that no one ever queried his right to live or work in the UK. But in a twist of fate in 2019 when he applied for a passport so he could go back to Ghana following the death of his mother, Shardy said he was told he was not British.

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In fact, the Home Office said he had no right to be in the UK. And officials consequently advised him to apply for the 10-year route to settlement.

Over the 10 years, it costs about £7,000, with a further £10,500 over the same period to access the NHS.

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

“I don’t understand why this fuss at all, because I put my life, my whole self into this country,” he added.

When he tried to extend his right to stay in the UK online two years ago, he filled out the wrong form. That meant the 10-year process had to begin again in 2023.

As a result, Mr. Shardey will not be allowed to stay in the UK permanently until he is 84.

A lawyer at Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit, Nicola Burgess, is now taking the Home Office to court on Shardey’s behalf.

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The Home Office declined to comment on the case, the report added.

Shardey has performed jury service, and in 2007 was given a Police award for bravery after tackling a robber who was attacking a delivery man with a baseball bat.

The retiree has two sons – Jacob and Aaron – with a British woman after his first marriage, also with a Briton, ended.

Gracie Brown, with agency reports
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