19 November 2012

Briton's nationality restored after UK visa technicality

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A British man's nationality has been restored after an obsolete technicality stripped him of his citizenship when he moved to Australia decades before.

UK visa

Professor John Tulloch has been granted Indefinite Leave to Remain and will soon be granted full British citizenship.

Professor John Tulloch was born to British parents and raised in the UK but moved to Australia after serving much of his professional life in the UK. After taking Australian citizenship however, Professor Tulloch was informed that, as he was born in a former British colony - India - he was technically a 'British subject without citizenship' and his passport was confiscated.

Since then Professor Tulloch, 70, has carried on working in the UK on a temporary UK visa but as he approaches retirement age, the prospect of being forced to leave his own country began to become very real.

Professor Tulloch is also known to the public as a survivor of the 2005 London bombings; as a passenger on the Circle Line train which exploded on 7/7 the professor was saved only by his luggage. However, his blood-smeared, bandaged and shocked face became one of the most iconic images in the world following the attacks.

Therefore the news that such a man was facing deportation from his own country sparked a media campaign led by The Telegraph and, despite the professor fighting the battle for his citizenship on his own for almost two decades, received his Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) less than three months after his story first came to light.

"It's just extraordinary. I am absolutely thrilled," said Professor Tulloch. "I have a great deal to thank [the media campaign] for. I spent 18 years trying through the front door and this just shows what the media can do in a matter of weeks.

"I was banging my head against a wall trying to get this sorted out – I’d never before encountered so much frustration. It was like Kafka. I phoned the UK Border Agency 15 times in one month alone, getting a different young person each time.

"You could never get anybody on the phone who understood the issues. But within 48 hours of [the] story appearing, the director of immigration was phoning me.

"They gave me a senior caseworker who I could call direct at any time and who was extremely helpful and sympathetic and lateral-thinking.

"For the first time ever, they were really interested in my whole story. They were clearly looking for a way through, whereas in the past they were looking for the opposite. They really have bent over backwards since your story appeared."

Professor Tulloch has since completed his ILR application and has been invited to apply for citizenship.

"I sent the form in only last Friday [9 November],” he said. “By Tuesday of last week, they’d made a decision, which included a police and tax check. I was astonished at how quick it was.

"They are sending me information as to where I can get the [oath of allegiance] ceremony done, and once I have that I can apply for a British passport.

“I still haven’t really taken it in. I’m just now realising what I can do. I can come and go whenever I like, I can work for money. It's incredible.”

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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