British-born Nigerian jazz singer faces deportation from UK

Bumi Thomas Nigerian jazz singer

A rising star in jazz music, Bumi Thomas, born in Britain to Nigerian parents is facing deportation after falling foul of controversial Home Office rules.

Despite having lived in Britain for most of her life, Ms Thomas was shocked after she was told last year that she was in the UK illegally.

She was born in Glasgow, Scotland in June 1983 after her parents arrived in Britain in the early 1970s.

Children born in the UK lost automatic citizenship after the British Nationality Act was amended in January 1983.

Thomas’s parents, Daily Mail reports, were unaware that they should have registered their daughter under the Act.

The singer’s elder sister, Kemi, with whom she lives in East London, escaped the axe as she was born before the changes to the Act.

Thomas, 36, who has performed on the BBC, said: “My parents came here at the end of the Windrush era.

“I had a National Insurance number, I had my birth certificate, I’d got a driving licence, a bank account, I went to college. At no point during that process was there any indication I was doing anything incorrectly. I believe that I am British.”

After her birth in Scotland, Thomas lived with her father in Nigeria between the ages of three and 18.

On her return to the UK, she was refused a passport at age 25. However, she was granted temporary discretionary leave to remain and told she could apply for permanent residency.

A fortnight ago, she received a letter from the Home Office saying her application had been unsuccessful.

The letter said she had to leave within 14 days or appeal, or face detention and deportation without notice.

According to the letter, she was granted right to remain only because she had been in a long-term relationship with a British citizen.

The singer’s US debut performance scheduled for October at Ford Theatre in Los Angeles is now in doubt.

Her choice to appeal on human rights grounds could last up to eight months to reach conclusion. Thomas said she had already incurred cost of £7,000 in legal fees.