A British-born joiner whose parents and grandparents are also British has been ordered to leave the country by immigration officials.
Shane Ridge, 21, of Colne, Lancashire, has lived in the UK since he was born and describes himself as ‘British as they come’.
But last week, he received a ‘terrifying’ Home Office letter which warned he risks a £5,000 fine or prison because he had ‘no lawful basis to be in the UK’.
It came as a shock for Shane who explained he was schooled in the UK where he also works, pays his taxes and votes.
The apprentice joiner said he believes the letter has come from his mum being born when his grandparents had visited Australia, though she is now a British citizen.
The letter declares that the Home Office is working with the DVLA, NHS and banks to ‘stop access to benefits and services for those with no lawful basis to be in the UK’ – before writing bluntly: “This includes you.”
It also states that his driving licence will be revoked and that he must stop driving immediately.
Shane claims he is even more confused after living his entire life as a Brit – going through the education system, paying taxes and accessing free healthcare.
He said: “It’s surreal. This is the only letter I have ever received in relation to me having to leave the country. It just came through my letterbox out of the blue.
“The last bit scared me the most – ‘leave the UK voluntarily’. I’m speechless – I don’t know what I can say.
“I received the letter from Immigration Enforcement saying they were going to revoke my driving licence and I should leave the UK voluntarily or face a £5,000 fine.
“I’m confused and worried that I’ll have to leave my entire family behind and move to a country that I don’t know.
“I don’t understand it because I was born in the UK. I did my GCSEs here, I’ve worked for six years, I pay tax and national insurance.
“Me and my girlfriend rented a house, I vote, I use the NHS and opened a bank account without any problems, ever.
“I’ve had my car for five months and before that, I had a provisional licence since I was 17.
“Nothing has ever flagged up that I don’t have British citizenship until I went to apply for a passport last year to go on holiday with my girlfriend and my application was declined.”
After the initial shock, on approaching the passport office in Liverpool, he was allegedly advised that he would be able to travel and safely return to the UK after his holiday.
Since then, Shane had no indication of the problems he now faces and is ‘confused’ as his entire family have either citizenship or the right to live and work in the UK.
Shane said: “I applied for an Australian passport and was accepted because my mum was born there, despite both her parents being British, and therefore she has dual citizenship.
“I went to apply for right of abode myself after receiving this letter and was told by the Home Office that I need to apply for British citizenship first before I can do that.
“The laws on this have apparently changed in 2006 and they have changed backwards and forwards throughout the years.
“I just don’t understand how they’ve just got through to me now.
“I even have a birth certificate with my dad’s signature on it – he’s British.
“If I cannot get dual citizenship or right of abode, or if this isn’t a mistake, I don’t know what I’ll do.”
Shane is now facing a waiting game after appealing the decision but is living in constant fear that tomorrow may be his last day living with his family.
He claims he is particularly angry that his life as a law-abiding citizen in the country he was born is being cast into uncertainty, despite immigrants from other countries living in the country without contributing.
Shane said: “It’s terrifying. My parents keep telling me everything will be fine but I’m really scared.
“My girlfriend, Jodie, isn’t happy. Everyone is in shock and wondering how this can possibly happen.
“It’s not right that I have always paid my taxes and worked, I’ve never claimed benefits and always had a job. Why do I get this letter when other people are here without contributing?
“I’ve lived by the book – never had a criminal record.
“I have brothers and sisters. They have dual citizenship because my mum married their dad, but my youngest sister, who is five, is also technically in the same position as me as my mum didn’t marry her dad.
“The letter even says they will stop my accessing the NHS or banks. I’ve always been to the doctors with no problems and me and my girlfriend have a joint bank account.”
The Home Office declined to comment because they said it is an ongoing case.