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Premier League footballer Donacien could miss European match because he might not get back into the UK | Immigration Matters

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A promising young football player for premier league team Aston Villa could be forced to remain at home while his team-mates jet abroad for a top European game – because he will almost certainly not be allowed back into Britain.

Defender Janoi Donacien, 18, has been denied permanent UK residency, or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) by the Home Office, despite living here with his family since 2001 after arriving from St Lucia.

The fiasco means the rising star cannot leave the country to take part in the prestigious knockout stages of the NextGen Series, an Under 19 tournament.

Villa have been drawn at home to French club Marseille in this month’s quarter-final of the Champions League-style event.

But if they progress and are handed an away tie, centre back Donacien would be forced to remain in Birmingham. If his immigration appeal is eventually turned down, he could be kicked out of the UK for good.

Bryan Jones, Villa’s academy director, said: ‘Time is running out fast because, if this is not resolved, Janoi will be unable to play football in this country. That would be a travesty. It’s time that the authorities examined the case and allowed the boy residency so he can pursue his career.’

Villa and Donacien’s family, who live in Luton, are waiting for the UK Border Agency to make a final decision on his application. Lawyers and Luton South MP Gavin Shuker have alerted Home Secretary Theresa May, culture secretary Jeremy Hunt and immigration minister Damian Green, but they have taken no action.

Donacien has played for Villa’s Under 18s and reserves, but is still registered as a schoolboy so is not paid a salary.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said individual applications could not be discussed in detail but added: ‘All foreign nationals must ensure they have permission to remain in the UK. When someone with no right to remain has an application outstanding and travels out of the UK they will effectively withdraw their application.’ Source: Daily Mail.

Based on recent cases in the immigration appeals tribunals and Supreme Court, Donacien would most likely win an appeal against a refusal on Human Rights grounds.

Last week a trainee accountant from Bangladesh who came to Britain on a student visa was  granted permission to remain in the country after successfully claiming that he had made friends and ‘played cricket on Sundays’.

While the Home Office turned down Abdullah Munawar’s initial bid to stay on in the UK after graduating, the courts overturned the decision on appeal and ruled that he could continue to enjoy a “private life” in this country under Article 8 of the European Convention of Human Rights.

Last year Ranzo Avila, an illegal immigrant who had previously been was given a police caution for shoplifting, was the subject of a ministerial bust up between the Home Secretary and Ken Clarke after being allowed to stay in the UK partly because he owned a cat.

Avila overstayed his student visa but was allowed to stay in Britain after an immigration judge ruled in his favour in 2008. He concluded that the Bolivian’s right to family life would be breached because he was in an established relationship — reinforced by the fact that the couple had bought a cat.

In another case a bogus international student, Abbas Khaliq, who lied that he could speak English and admitted buying a fake language proficiency certificate was given leave to stay in Britain by immigration appeal judges.

Despite being ‘untruthful’ and ‘not a credible witness’, and failing to mention that his brother was an illegal immigrant here, the reluctant judges said Khaliq had broken no rules and could stay in the UK. 

In a further high profile case last year, former X Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu and her family won their immigration appeal and right to remain in the UK after a public campaign with the backing of Simon Cowell despite breaking immigration rules.

See also:

Student wins article 8 human rights appeal after claiming he played cricket with friends

Student allowed by Immigration Judge to remain in UK despite buying a fake English certificate

‘Pet cat Human Rights Appeal’ overstaying student was a shoplifter

X Factor Gamu wins appeal against deportation to Zimbabwe

If you need any immigration advice or help with Sponsorship or Work Permits, Visa, ILR/Settlement, Citizenship, dependant visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: or visit

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