Philip Stephen spent 15 years trying to secure British citizenship – despite arriving in the UK on a Commonwealth passport which stated he had the right to live and work in the country.
Born in St Lucia, he travelled here with his seven-year-old sister in 1967, to join their parents in Huddersfield, where they had lived for four years. His dad, who is still alive, worked in an iron foundry while his late mother was employed in a biscuit factory.
Now 60, Stephen lost his citizenship when St Lucia gained independence from Britain in 1979. His sister successfully applied for British papers in the early 1980s but he says he could not afford to do so at that point.
He says: “I became a British citizen when Britain took over my country and raped and pillaged it. I’ve been trying to sort out this issue since 2005. I spent so much money applying for passports and was denied, denied, denied, they said I wasn’t a citizen although I thought I had the right to work here.
“Then I was made redundant I retrained as a security guard. But I was asked for ID at my interview and told my old passport and documents from St Lucia had no value so the job offer was withdrawn.
“I got my citizenship and passport last year. I feel relieved at finally being recognised and for the freedom to move about.”
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