A university lecturer injured in the 7/7 bombings faces being expelled from the UK even though he was born to British parents in a British colony, the Telegraph reports.
In the frightening days after 7/7, John Tulloch was the face of Britain’s resistance to terror: bloodied, dazed, clothes in shreds, his picture appeared on newspaper front pages around the world.
Sitting opposite a suicide bomber on a Circle Line train, he had been saved from death by his own luggage. He was visited in hospital by the Prince of Wales, who proclaimed him an example of the “resilience of the British people”.
Prof Tulloch, 70, who traces his ancestry here back to the 14th century, was born to British parents in a British colony. He has a British wife, children and brother. He was raised and educated in Britain from the age of three, has substantial assets and property here and has lived or worked in the UK for most of his life, holding a series of posts at British universities. He even held a British passport.
But now, his passport has been confiscated and he faces expulsion from Britain in the latest bizarre twist in this country’s “Kafkaesque” immigration laws.
“I am totally gobsmacked by this,” said Prof Tulloch. “I’ve got a huge attachment to Britain. My family has served Britain for three generations. I’ve been banging my head against a wall trying to get this sorted out, but I’ve never before encountered so much frustration. It’s like Kafka.”
Prof Tulloch, who still suffers post-traumatic stress disorder, said the problems with his citizenship had worsened the “sense of uncertainty he had suffered since the bombing.
“7/7 is not hard to go back to,” he said. “I can talk about that. What’s hard to go back to is that I am about to be thrown out of the country.
“There I was, hailed as an example of British courage, British pluck and the British spirit, an iconic image of British resistance. I get blown up in the media as a British patriot, then I get kicked out.”
What makes Prof Tulloch’s plight so hurtful to him is that it is a direct consequence of his family’s very service to this country.
He was born to a British Army officer in pre-independence India. Unknown to him, this conferred a lesser form of British nationality known as a “British subject without citizenship”.
He was, he says, never told about this status and was issued with a British passport in the normal way.
“Neither I nor my parents ever received information from the Government that this was somehow an inferior passport,” he said. “In particular, the passport itself explicitly said that you could take out dual nationality without risking your British nationality.”
After a degree at Cambridge, postgraduate study at Sussex and a career in UK academia, Prof Tulloch took a job in Australia and was granted Australian citizenship.
Unlike with a full British citizen, and again unknown to him, this automatically cancelled both his British nationality and his right to live in Britain. When he applied to renew his British passport, it was confiscated.
He was able to return to the UK, where he has held a professorship of communications at Brunel and was head of the School of Journalism at Cardiff University, under a work permit and has spent the majority of his time in recent years in this country.
But as he moves into semi-retirement, he has now been told that he can no longer permanently remain here and can only visit for brief periods as a tourist. The Home Office has also told him that he cannot apply for naturalisation.
“It is getting to crisis point now,” he said. “When I came back from a trip to Vienna, two or three months ago, I got a really hard time at Heathrow. I am worried that if I leave again, I might not be let back in.”
There is no question of Prof Tulloch being a burden on the country. He owns a flat in Penarth, near Cardiff, and has tens of thousands of pounds in savings here. He has always been treated as British for taxation purposes, if not for immigration purposes.
His brother, who does have full British citizenship, is unwell and needs looking after. As even the immigration officer at Heathrow told him, he is exactly the kind of person the country should be welcoming.
But, to him, it is the insult to the generations of his forebears who served Britain that is most troubling. At his home, he shows us the pictures of his father, a major in the Gurkha Rifles who was fighting the Japanese in Burma at the time of his birth.
His grandfather was one of the Empire’s first foresters, his great-grandfather served in the Indian Civil Service, too. “I look back now, on the verge of being thrown out of residence in the UK, at something like 120 years of my family’s distinguished service to Britain in India,” Prof Tulloch said.
“This isn’t simply an insult to me, but to generations of my family, and beyond them to the thousands and thousands of people in India and other colonies who believed that they could call Britain home.”
In July, this newspaper exposed the extraordinary story of Lance Corporal Bale Baleiwai, the soldier British enough to risk his life for this country in Bosnia, Afghanistan and Iraq, but now facing deportation for a technicality that no civilian would be caught by.
Just as with L/Cpl Baleiwai, the Tulloch family’s service to the country might seem to qualify them for special treatment. In fact, it causes them to be treated worse than anyone else.
Indeed, as British immigration law stands, Prof Tulloch would almost certainly have more chance of staying here if he had been a perpetrator, rather than a victim, of terrorism.
Last year, Ismail Abdurahman, a Somali convicted of providing a safe house for the would-be 21/7 bomber, Hussain Osman, was excused deportation after serving his prison sentence on the grounds that his human rights would be at risk if he was returned to Somalia.
Abdurahman is one of at least 11 convicted foreign-born terrorists allowed to remain in the UK under such provisions.
A UK Border Authority spokesman said: “It is the responsibility of an individual to check that they will not lose a previously acquired nationality or citizenship on acquiring an additional one.”
However, Home Office sources said that it was still open to Prof Tulloch to apply for leave to remain in the country if he wished. Source: The Telegraph.
The UK Border Agency has recently announced a raft of immigration clampdowns including important changes to the way applications from visa overstayers will be treated.
Starting 1 October 2012, if you have overstayed your leave or permission to stay in the UK by more than 28 days any application for further leave will be automatically refused.
The Government will incorporate this change into the Immigration Rules and will affect applicants applying for further leave or visa extensions under:
- the points-based system;
- all working and student routes;
- visiting routes;
- long residency routes;
- discharged HM Forces; or
- UK ancestry routes.
The change fits in with the new Immigration Rules coming into effect for the family migration route from 9 July 2012.
The Home Office announced that from 9 July 2012, if you want to marry a foreigner (non-EEA European Economic Area nationality) and live in the UK together you must earn £18,600.
The right to appeals against a refusal for a family visit visa has also be abolished.
Immigration Advisers Bison Management has dealt with many cases of migrants who have overstayed their visa period. Bison Immigration Adviser Cynthia Barker said:
‘Overstaying applicants are normally automatically refused unless there is a strong case for a human rights appeal or for instance where they are in a relationship or have a child with British or EEA national.
‘Many of the cases are dealt with on an ‘outside the rules’ basis or go to a full appeal at the First Tier Tribunal.
‘The changes to the immigration rules will set out more clearly when a refusal will be issued.’
If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: