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British Home Affairs plans to deport a South African for not taking the required language exam

Donovan Tapping, a 36 year old South African, is employed by a British company and is married to British national; wife Shelly.  Tapping is completely integrated into the UK life but faces the real threat of being deported to South Africa for not taking the required English language test upon entering the UK almost ten years ago.

Although he speaks fluent English and it is his mother tongue he is in the UK from a country not recognized as an ‘English speaking’ nation.

Jason Nish found himself in the exact same position recently when he was refused permission to stay in the UK and is now awaiting the results of his appeal.  Nish speaks no other language but English, said the father of two from Carlisle.

“This whole situation is soul-destroying,” said Mr Tapping, who lives in Penrith, Cumbria.  He continued that he was never informed that the UK Home Office did not consider South-Africa to be a predominantly English-speaking nation and therefor require migrants to pass the English language proficiency test as part of their visa application process.

“I speak a little Afrikaans, but my main language has always been English, and is regarded as the main international language used in South Africa.

“All they told me was that I would have to sit the Life in the UK test, which I did and which I passed. Nobody ever mentioned an English test.

“I’ve made my life here. Shelley and I have been together for four years, and marrying her last year was the most important day of my life. I was marrying the person I want to spend the rest of my life with,” said Tapping.

The family spoke out about the effect the situation has had on them saying that it is a very emotionally taxing time.  Not only do they face being separated but Mr Tapping’s job at a poultry factory was also suffering as a result of having to tend to the situation he finds himself in.

Mrs Tapping said, “It’s heart-breaking.  Donovan’s only mistake was ticking the wrong box on his form, because he did not realise that the government here does not see South Africa as a country which is majority English speaking. The Home Office is not behaving reasonably.

“He came over here for a better quality of life, and because he does not feel safe in South Africa. He classes this as his home now and he’s totally settled: he loves walking in the Lake District, and supports Manchester United Football Club. He’s always worked, and he’s never been in trouble.

“Apparently, my being married to him makes no difference. I think it’s a terrible way to treat people.”

An official from the British Home Office stated that all applications were considered on the individual merits of the case and would be in line with the requirements of the country’s immigration rules.

 “Anyone applying for indefinite leave to remain {in the UK] who is not from an English speaking country must provide evidence of having an approved English language qualification. The immigration rules state that South Africa is not an English-speaking country.

“Mr Tapping’s application was refused because he failed to provide evidence that he had passed a language qualification. He has the right to appeal,” stated an official on behalf of the UK Home Office.

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