Zimbabwe-born ‘genius’ wins battle to remain in UK and take up Oxford University place

Friends: Luke, left, set up a petition for Brian, right. Picture: London Evening Standard
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A Zimbabwe-born student who faced losing his place at Oxford University amid deportation fears has won his battle to stay in the UK and begin studying.

Brian White, from Wolverhampton, had to delay starting at the prestigious university last year after being told he did not have indefinite leave to remain in the country.

He was brought up in an orphanage in Zimbabwe until he was six-years-old. He was then adopted by his parents – one of whom is a British citizen – and spent several years with them in Botswana before the family moved to the UK when Mr White was 15.

But he was not granted indefinite leave to remain by the Home Office, meaning he could have been deported back to his country of birth.

The talented student was due to start at Oxford University in 2016 after achieving four A*s at A Level. However, he refused entry after reportedly being told his permission to remain in the UK had expired.

petition supporting his bid to attend Oxford to study chemistry has been backed by more than 80,000 people – including celebrities Philip Pullman and Caitlin Moran who gave their support to the “genius”.

The Home Office today revealed that Mr White, now aged 21, has been granted permission to stay in the UK.

A spokesperson said: “We have been in contact with Mr White’s legal representatives today (4 September) to confirm that his application for Indefinite Leave to Remain has been approved.”

 Talented: Brian achieved straight A*s but his Oxford future was thrown into doubt
Talented: Brian achieved straight A*s but his Oxford future was thrown into doubt. Picture: London Evening Standard

Lawyers representing him previously claimed he should be eligible for indefinite leave to remain, which means there would be no limit on how long he can stay in the UK, and say it is a mystery he has not already acquired it.

Sharon Bishop, one of the teachers at Highfields School, where Brian attended after arriving in the UK, told the Express and Star: “When I heard the news I burst into tears. And I never cry. I cried for about an hour.

“We are absolutely thrilled to get this result. Now we have got three weeks to pack and get him off to Oxford for the start of the term. We are delighted, thrilled, absolutely over the moon.” – London Evening Standard