A Ghanaian man told he was not British

A retired 74-year-old Ghanaian man who has lived in the UK for 47 years must wait a decade before the Home Office will let him stay permanently.

Nelson Shardey, from Wallasey in Wirral, had assumed he was officially seen as British for many years.

He only discovered otherwise in 2019, and despite paying taxes all his adult life, he now faces paying thousands of pounds to stay and use the NHS.

Mr Shardey first came to the UK in 1977 to study accountancy on a student visa that also allowed him to work. However, after a coup in his native Ghana, his family could no longer send him money for the fees.

He took on a series of jobs and said no one ever challenged his right to live or work in the UK.

He has been married twice and has two sons. He says, “I tried my utmost to educate them the best way I could so that neither of them would depend on social or anything.” He goes on to say that he taught his sons to “learn hard, get a good job, and work for themselves.” Both sons went on to university and then careers as research scientists and public relations executives.

Mr Shardey said he had never left the UK as he regarded it as his home. He has bought items on credit, has had a mortgage in his name, has been selected for jury duty, and even received an award in 2007 for bravery after foiling a robbery.

In 2019, he applied for a passport for a trip back to his native Ghana, but he was told he wasn’t British and had no right to be in the UK.

It took till 2019 for this to come to light; he had lived here for 42 years illegally, and the authorities never knew.

It has to be pointed out that Nelson Shardley is probably a nice, decent, and hard-working citizen. He has worked hard and raised two fine sons who, under his guidance, have gone on to be productive members of society.

I would suspect that deep down he knew he was here illegally, though, unlike Vito Corleone in The Godfather, who was smuggled to America as a small child, he was 27 years old when he arrived here and with two professional sons and a successful business to brag about, this is not a stupid man.

Mortgages and loans: we all know the banks want your money, and in light of the 2008 financial crises, we now know they ask very few questions.

If ever he needed to use the NHS, I doubt he encountered much resistance because it does not do background checks anyway and is open to abuse. However, the fact that he took over 40 years to apply for a passport is somewhat strange. I suspect that deep down, he knew this would see him caught.

However, let’s not throw him under the bus that quickly.

He has been allowed to stay by the sheer failure of both conservative and labour governments who have shown no will to control and manage our borders, and the length of time he has been here is a massive indictment of the incompetence and apathy demonstrated by the entirety of the Westminster bubble.

If an elderly newsagent can thwart the authorities by living an ordinary life, how the hell are they supposed to tackle the people traffickers and potential terrorists from coming in and staying here?

The Homeland Party would ensure that people here illegally wouldn’t just be allowed to disappear into society and hide in such plain sight.

As for Nelson Shardey, the problem is not his return to Ghana; he can return to the land of his birth at any time. The problem would be his return to the UK; his lack of signed paperwork makes it difficult to prove his British credentials.

This whole story is ironic, given the fact he overstayed his visa and remained here illegally; he was rewarded with over 40 years of a new life, but as soon as Mr Shardey tried to do the right thing and obtain a passport and correct paperwork, he was punished.

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