Birmingham & Black Country

'Brilliant student' Brian White can stay in UK

Luke Wilcox and Brian White Image copyright Brian White
Image caption A petition supporting Brian White [right], was set up by friend Luke Wilcox [left]

A "brilliant student" who faced being deported and losing his place at Oxford University can stay in the UK indefinitely, the Home Office said.

Brian White, 21, moved from Botswana aged 15 with his adoptive British family and lives in Wolverhampton.

An application for him to become a British citizen at 18 was rejected and he feared losing his place at Oxford.

Mr White said he was "delighted" at the news. His next step was to obtain student finance, he said.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We have been in contact with Mr White's legal representatives today (4 September) to confirm that his application for Indefinite Leave to Remain has been approved."

A petition, started by Mr White's friend Luke Wilcox, had gathered almost 112,000 signatures.

Image copyright
Image caption The petition page set up by Mr White's friend announced the news on Monday

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Speaking last month, he said it would be "disgusting" if Mr White's application was rejected as he had no links in the country of his birth.

The petition had been shared by journalist Caitlin Moran and writer Philip Pullman.

The university said Mr White was a "brilliant student" and confirmed his place would be available whenever he was able to take it up.

Image copyright Brian White
Image caption Brian White, left, lived in a Zimbabwean orphanage until the age of six

Mr White had said he had been unable to take up his place to study chemistry at Oxford in 2016 after being deemed ineligible to receive student finance.

He lived in a Zimbabwean orphanage until the age of six. He was fostered and later adopted by the White family, who moved to Botswana and later returned to the UK.

In 2014, his application to become a British citizen by naturalisation was rejected because when he arrived in the UK, he was granted limited leave to remain by the Home Office, rather than indefinite leave.

The family appealed, but that was also rejected. Monday's confirmation is the outcome of his latest application.

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