A woman who has lived in the UK for nearly 50 years has been told she may have to leave the country because she is an illegal immigrant.
The 52 year grandmother who has lived in Britain for nearly half a century has been told she will be deported unless she can prove her right to citizenship.
A petition has been set up to keep Ms Birkenhead in the UK and already has more than 2,000 supporters.
The Mail Online reports:
Winnie Birkenhead has also been told she cannot work and must take an English exam if she is to stay in the country.
The 52-year-old, who is recovering from breast cancer, now fears she will be deported to Malaysia where she does not speak the language.
She came to the UK from Malaysia in 1968, aged five, on her mother’s passport and her late stepfather served in the British Army.
Ms Birkenhead, of Burnley, Lancashire, said: ‘It’s terrifying knowing that they can come for me at any time and take me away.
‘Every time my dog barks or there’s a knock at the door I panic – I just don’t know what to do I feel like I’m stuck in limbo.
‘My mum gave up her Malaysian citizenship the day we came here to be British, so I just assumed I was a British citizen too.
‘I’ve never had a passport but that’s just because I like going to places like Cornwall and Devon for my holidays and don’t want to go abroad.’
She claims she doesn’t know anyone in Malaysia apart from a sister, who she isn’t in contact with.
Ms Birkenhead is now asking friends for photographs from her past to prove she has lived in England for 48 years.
She does have a National Insurance number and driving licence and was CRB checked eight years ago when she began working for Pride Community Care, a company which supports vulnerable adults.
Her employer Amanda Balmer said she was shocked to receive a letter from the Home Office saying Ms Birkenhead couldn’t work.
The letter also states Pride Community Care could face a £20,000 fine for employing an ‘illegal immigrant’, which Ms Balmer claimed would force the company to close.
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