A petition to halt the deportation of a 21 year old Zimbabwe-born man who has been offered a place at Oxford university, from the UK, has collected more than 64,000 signatures within four days after its launch last week.
Brian White who is based in Wolverhampton was orphaned as a baby in Zimbabwe and raised in an orphanage in that country until the age of six. He was then adopted by a family who moved to the UK when he was 15.
However, White, who has been described as a “genius” now faces being deported from the UK and losing his place at Oxford University due to the fact that The Home Office did not grant him Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
The petition calling on the Home Office to allow White to take up his place at Oxford University to study Chemistry, was started by Luke Wilcox, 19, who studied at Highfields School, Penn, at the same time as Brian. Speaking to the press, Luke said it would be ‘disgusting’ if his friend was refused permission to stay in the UK.
White, who gained four A* students at A-Level, had his application to become a British citizen by naturalisation rejected in 2014. Although his family appealed, that was also rejected.
He is now awaiting the decision on his current application. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the Home Office said it is aware of the “urgency” of the case.
In an interview with the BBC White said: “I don’t feel like there is much I can do except wait which is not the best of thing to do. I just want to be there, go to university and be a normal person, rather than sit around and wait to see if I can stay here or get deported”.
Writing in the petition, Wilcox said: “I have had the personal pleasure of knowing Brian since the start of 2013, having met him at school and quickly developing a close friendship with him. He is possibly the hardest working person I have ever met, but it is his enthusiasm to help those around him that I am inspired by each and every day.”
Renowned UK authors Philip Pullman and Caitlin Moran are among the people who have signed the petition urging the Home Office to grant White Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK.
Pullman, who is known for fantasy trilogy His Dark Materials, said: “Home office: Help Brian White remain in the UK to take his place at Oxford University!”