Hospital staff rally to keep Robert here

PUBLISHED: 09:47 13 March 2006 | UPDATED: 08:58 24 May 2010

STAFF at Weston General Hospital have rallied round a colleague who is facing deportation to South Africa. Hard-working hospital administrator Robert McIntyre, who now lives in Weston, arrived in the country last year to be closer to his family and escape

STAFF at Weston General Hospital have rallied round a colleague who is facing deportation to South Africa.Hard-working hospital administrator Robert McIntyre, who now lives in Weston, arrived in the country last year to be closer to his family and escape the turbulence of his homeland.But with his two year visa running out, 25-year-old Robert has been told he will have to leave Britain.He says immigration services have ignored the fact that Robert's father and sister have won the right to stay in Weston and that as many as 40 of his friends and hospital colleagues are backing his bid to stay.Robert said: "I'm only allowed to stay until 2007, but can only work until 11 May 2006. There's no way I can support myself after that, so I'll have to go back."I've got lots of friends in town and work. I really want to stay."I've been to MP John Penrose to ask about how to stay. His office told me to go to the citizen's advice bureau and it told me to go to a specialist solicitor's firm. "The solicitor said the only way to stay is with a work permit, but I'm not qualified enough for one. I thought because my dad is staying here after marrying a British woman and because my grandparents were from British Rhodesia, I would have a better chance of staying."I've had lots of support from friends at work. I had to turn down promotion because I knew I could be sent back and didn't want to let down my department."There's a general perception that some foreign people are here claiming benefits. But people seeing me working hard feel sorry for me because I have to go."Everyone's talking to me about ways they think I can help, but it's all come to a full stop. The rules say I can't stay and I've booked a ticket to go back to South Africa."My dad is not too thrilled about it. I will spend the last of my time with my dad and sister, who both married EU nationals and are allowed to stay."There's no future for me in South Africa. It's a dark future for me there."A Home Office spokesman said: "We can't comment on individual cases, but the rules say foreign nationals in this situation have to return. They can appeal, but if this is unsuccessful they have to return.

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