Student cleared to remain in UK to take place at Oxford

Updated: 
Crime Commissioner, David Jamieson (right) with Brian White (West Midlands Police/PA)

A "brilliant" student has won his battle to remain in Britain indefinitely and take up a place at Oxford University.

Brian White, who moved to the UK aged 15 with his adoptive family after his British father decided to return home from Botswana, was informed of the decision by his lawyer.

The news was announced by a friend of Mr White who organised a petition calling on the Home Office to grant the 21-year-old, from Wolverhampton, indefinite leave to remain in the UK.

Brian White with Wolverhampton South West MP Eleanor Smith (PA)

Mr White, who lived in a Zimbabwean orphanage until the age of six and was fostered and later adopted by the White family, had an application to become a British citizen by naturalisation rejected in 2014.

The straight-A student had feared his immigration status could cost him a place at Oxford to study chemistry.

His friend Luke Wilcox set up the petition, signed by more than 110,000 well-wishers, urging the Home Office to grant indefinite leave to remain to "a fantastic person who is just as much a part of British culture and society as you and I".

In a statement Mr Wilcox said: "At the moment we would like to enjoy some personal time.

"But we would like to thank all those that supported the campaign and signed the petition, and we are grateful to them for helping change Brian's life."

West Midlands police and crime commissioner David Jamieson last week called on the Home Office to "act quickly" and "see sense" in its consideration of the case.

Calling for the case to be fast-tracked, Mr Jamieson said: "Brian is an exceptionally bright and talented young man and he must be allowed to fulfil his full potential."

In a statement issued through Mr Jamieson's office, Mr White said: "I am over the moon. This is the result I dreamed of.

"I can't wait to start my undergraduate course in chemistry. I'd like to put on the record my thanks to the police and crime commissioner and everybody else who helped make this possible. Words can't describe how happy I am."

Mr Jamieson hailed the decision as "a victory for common sense" after a situation which should never have arisen.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We have been in contact with Mr White's legal representatives today to confirm that his application for indefinite leave to remain has been approved."