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Taxpaying caretaker who grew up in UK is deemed 'illegal' worker

PUBLISHED: 12:17 09 July 2009 | UPDATED: 14:37 24 August 2010

by Will Davies A nursing home caretaker who has lived in Britain for 46 years has been forced from his job because he did not have the right to work. Uriah Smith, 56, of Pinemartin Close, Cricklewood was able to sign on for jobseekers al

by Will Davies

A nursing home caretaker who has lived in Britain for 46 years has been forced from his job because he did not have the right to work.

Uriah Smith, 56, of Pinemartin Close, Cricklewood was able to sign on for jobseekers allowance even though he was told he did not have valid paperwork to legally work in the country.

His parents have British passports, he has paid tax and national insurance since school and as far as he is concerned he is British.

He said: "Simply because I have no passport I cannot work. But a passport is a travel document. I was born in Jamaica when it was a British colony so therefore I am a British citizen."

The father of eight had been working as a caretaker at St David's Nursing Home in Ealing, which cares for disabled ex-servicemen and women.

In desperation Mr Smith went to a Home Office building where he was told to apply for temporary employment and pay a fee of more than £900.

But he said: "I came here as a minor and went to school here. When I left school they gave me my national insurance number. I don't see why I should pay £900 when I have been working here all my life.

"When the rule came in that those who came over before 1996 had to register, I didn't as I couldn't afford it. I have tried since but the Home Office have not helped me at all."

Mr Smith has been forced to sign on in order to survive.

He added: "If you are allowed to sign on, surely you are allowed to work. It is ridiculous. I want this job. For 15 years I have been trying to get a job like this, where I am doing good in the community.

"If the Home Office wrote back to me and told me I need to pay £150 to register I would of course, but they are not saying anything. I have a lot of money invested in the pension scheme. If they deported me would they send me that money?"

Jane McAvley, manager of St David's Nursing Home, said the charity is suffering without Mr Smith.

She said: "There are so many illegal people working in the UK but someone who is British is being denied that right. We really need Smithy back as we are currently paying expensive contractors which we cannot afford."

A spokesman for the Home Office said: "Anyone suspected of working illegally is given the opportunity to prove they have the right to work and live in the United Kingdom."

w.davies@archant.co.uk


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