The Home Office was accused last night of breaching the human rights of an international cricketer from York, after giving him 14 days to leave the country because of a technicality with his visa.
In what his lawyer called a case of “box ticking” by “Jobsworth” civil servants, Collis King, a pivotal figure for the West Indies in the 1979 World Cup final against England at Lord’s, has been stranded in Barbados for three months, despite having lived in Britain for 44 years.
The 67-year-old, who expected to spend the summer turning out for Dunnington in the York and District senior league and coaching young players in the area, is instead living apart from his British wife, Beverley, who remains in North Yorkshire.
She said: “He just wants to come home. We have lodged an appeal but we have no idea what’s happening. The system is appallingly disorganised.”
The case is the latest involving the so-called Windrush generation of Commonwealth citizens who despite having lived in the UK for decades, have learned that they are here illegally because of an absence of official paperwork. The scandal brought an apology from the Prime Minister and led to the resignation of the former Home Secretary, Amber Rudd.
Mr King’s friend, Peter Jewell, who is also one of his lawyers, told The Yorkshire Post that the Home Office had stepped in after the cricketer married Beverley, who had been his long-term partner.
He said: “He was still on a visitor’s visa and when he wanted to change it to a spousal visa with an ultimate British citizenship, to put it bluntly the **** hit the fan.
“He was given 14 days to get out of the country.
“There was no logic, no brains, no thought. It was a case of Jobsworths putting a tick in a box.”
He added: “I recognise that the country has problems with people who are allowed to stay here when they shouldn’t be, but this is clearly a genuine case which could have been sorted out by filling in a few forms.”
In their appeal against the handling of the case, Mr King’s lawyers are accusing the Home Office of contravening his right to a private family life, a freedom enshrined in the Human Rights Act.
Mr Jewell said: “The Home Office is now saying it can’t find the appeal papers. It’s just ridiculous. We’re chasing them and if we have to start proceedings against them, we will do. Until you put a bomb under them, they will do nothing.”
The Home Office said it had no record of a visa application from Mr King since his return to Barbados, which, it said, had been made “voluntarily”.