South African family told to get out of Britain
A SOUTH African who moved his family to Stoke-on-Trent more than two years ago to look after his ill mother is being booted out of Britain.
Immigration officers have told Grant and Charlotte Rabe and their three children that they will be deported by the end of July.
Grant had arrived in Britain on a six-month visa in December 2007 and has spent £4,000 on legal fees to try to remain in the country.
The self-employed mechanic argues he should not be treated like an asylum seeker – because he works and pays rent for a house.
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But the UK Border Agency (UKBA) says the family has no right to remain in Britain and should leave now.
Grant came to Britain after his mother, Leonie Gater, of Bucknall, suffered a stroke and was found to have a cyst on her brain.
Mrs Gater had arrived in Britain from South Africa in 1976 and later married a Potteries man before they divorced.
Grant, of Tunstall, said today: "We have been told we will be given £500 each to help us return to South Africa but I will have no home and no job and we will be on the streets.
"I do not want any benefits in Britain, I have paid the rent on my house by working all day as a mechanic.
"I have used all my savings to look after my mother and to try to stay in this country. It is very wrong that asylum seekers stay here and get money from the state. I have never asked for a penny and I would never ask for anything.
"I need to stay here and want to look after my mother. She needs help with basic things like getting to the shops."
The Rabes' children – Etienne, aged 16, Nico aged 14, and five-year-old Johan – are attending Brownhills Maths and Computing College, in Tunstall, and the town's Summerbank Primary School.
Etienne, who is taking his GCSEs, said: "I have made so many friends. If we can stay here, I would love to go to college."
Grant was brought up by his grandparents after his mother gave birth at 15 and he remained in South Africa until 2007.
Mrs Gater said: "I always stayed in touch with Grant and we would talk on the phone and send letters, but I could not afford to go back and see him.
"I made sure I always supported him financially as he was growing up. I could not work because of my illness and had my home repossessed as I couldn't keep up with the mortgage payments.
"Grant sold all his belongings to come here and help take care of me. I just want him to stay."
The Rabes' latest application to stay here was turned down in November.
UKBA regional director Gail Adams said: "Mr Rabe and his family were fully aware they only had a right to remain in the UK as visitors for six months, yet they have chosen to stay significantly longer.
"Mr Rabe's case has been fully assessed against immigration rules.
"When someone is found not to have a right to be in the UK, we expect them to leave voluntarily, and if they fail to do so, we will not hesitate to find ways of removing them."