1. This site uses cookies. By continuing to use this site, you are agreeing to our use of cookies. Learn More.
  2. Hi Guest, welcome to the TES Community!

    Connect with like-minded education professionals and have your say on the issues that matter to you.

    Don't forget to look at the how to guide.

    Dismiss Notice

So, this thing about it being illegal to make someone stateless...

Discussion in 'Personal' started by monicabilongame, Feb 13, 2020.

  1. monicabilongame

    monicabilongame Star commenter


    A British citizen has been blocked from entering the UK after a holiday because the Home Office revoked his passport with no warning – rendering him stateless.

    Fatush Lala, 33, who has lived in Britain since the age of 14, was told by border officials as he tried to board a flight home from Brussels airport that he had no right to do so.

    Mr Lala, who lives in north London, has now been forced to live on the streets of the Belgian capital for more than three weeks. He says he has been pushed “from pillar to post” as he tries to rectify the situation. The Home Office has not responded to a letter from his MP sent a week ago.

    David Lammy, Labour MP for Tottenham, said it was “grossly inhumane” for the government to prevent entry to someone who arrived in Britain as a minor and has called the country his home for the past 20 years.

    Mr Lala, who was born in Serbia but moved to the UK as a teenager and naturalised, said he went to the UK embassy in Belgium to seek help, only to be told his British passport – the only one he has ever owned – was no longer valid and have it confiscated from him, leaving him stateless....

    It has since emerged that the Home Office had sent a letter addressed to Mr Lala on 5 December informing him that his passport was being revoked – but it was sent to the wrong address so never reached him.

    The letter states that his UK passport “should not have been issued”, on the basis that he naturalised with an identity that “conflicts [his] true identity”. It states that he said he was born in 1986 and born in Serbia, but the Home Office believes he was born in 1985 in Albania.

    It provides no explanation as to how the Home Office obtained this information but states that he must not use the document for travel.

    Mr Lala first arrived to the UK as a minor after being split from his family during the Serbian conflict. He went into foster care and attended school, college and university in the country, before being granted British citizenship in his early twenties....

    A Home Office spokesperson said the department does not comment on individual cases.
  2. Ivartheboneless

    Ivartheboneless Star commenter

    Probably making a leap too far, but is our lovely compassionate government, who will no doubt soon be revoking all our human rights, doing it to deter migrants?
  3. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    On what grounds is he now "stateless"?

    If he was born in either Serbia (which he claims) or Albania (which the Home Office claims) then he is a citizen of one or the other of those two states by virtue of birth and/or descent or can immediately claim citizenship on either of those grounds.

    He would not have lost his citizenship when attempting (illegally, apparently) to get his British citizenship. Both Albanian and Serbian laws permit all Albanian/Serbian nationals to obtain any other nationality without losing their Albanian/Serbian nationality
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
  4. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Why have you started another thread on this issue? It has already been discussed this morning in the Sharmima Begum thread.

    This is not a "write only" medium, you know. :rolleyes:

    In any case, as Nomad has pointed out, he is not stateless - as discussed this morning, the UK is party to a number of treaties that prevent it from rendering anyone stateless,
    border_walker likes this.
  5. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    Rather an impolite response.
    Many people start threads which may inadvertently duplicate content - I did it myself this morning re Sajid Javid.
    Unless one has read every post, why would they know that a thread re Sharmima Begum is now about Fatush Lala?
  6. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    It's only the Home Office view that he's actually Albanian - and after Windrush, who trusts the Home Office?
    monicabilongame likes this.
  7. nomad

    nomad Star commenter

    Even if the Home Office is wrong and the man is Serbian after all, he would still not be stateless.
    border_walker likes this.
  8. chelsea2

    chelsea2 Star commenter

    But, presumably, if the HO believed he was the nationality he claims (and for which he has a passport) he would have been allowed back into the UK anyway?
  9. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    Yes, but if the Home Office is wrong - I echo Morninglover, "who trusts the Home Office?" - and he didn't give a false year and country of birth they have no grounds to cancel his British passport and take his British citizenship away.
  10. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Serbia is not in the EU, so he could only stay in the UK for 180 days without a visa, which he has presumably used up.
    border_walker and nomad like this.
  11. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    The trouble is, splitting a topic between two threads makes it hard for others to follow the line of conversation, often resulting in points being missed, or having to be answered twice.
    border_walker likes this.
  12. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    According to Post #1 he's lived here for 20 years since he was 14 years old.
    chelsea2 likes this.
  13. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Point taken that he had British citizenship before his passport was revoked. The trouble is, we don't know why it was revoked, and the Home Office are not going to give details about individuals. He was a naturalised British subject and I think he is accused of lying about his country of origin on his application, but that is only speculation.
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2020
    border_walker likes this.
  14. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    I think we can trust that the Independent is correctly quoting the letter he received the Home Office which says, they say,

    The letter states that his UK passport “should not have been issued”, on the basis that he naturalised with an identity that “conflicts [his] true identity”. It states that he said he was born in 1986 and born in Serbia, but the Home Office believes he was born in 1985 in Albania.

    It provides no explanation as to how the Home Office obtained this information...
    So although Home Office isn't confirming anything publicly we can pretty confident why it has been revoked but as you say, what we don't know is why the Home Office believes that or whether their information is accurate.
  15. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

  16. towncryer

    towncryer Lead commenter

    I don't understand the outcry.
    On the one hand people want to see a reduction in immigration ,something which greatly influenced the Brexit vote.However when ever the home office tries to do something about it the papers kick up a stink. I agree that Windrush was shameful but the deportation of people who should not be in UK and revoking of passport for legal reasons are surely what it's their job to do?
    Almost every country I have lived in has a strict immigration policy and you're out once your work visa finishes or if there are any criminal issues.And that's how it should be.
    Or would you rather that anyone who feels like it can stay?
    border_walker and nomad like this.
  17. Rott Weiler

    Rott Weiler Star commenter Forum guide

    It's a clever story but to be fair to the Home Office they never asked anything of the sort. It was an automated system that had been wrongly programmed so that it couldn't correctly record the date of birth of anyone over 100 so treated him as if he were 1 year old. The Guardian article says that once his son spoke to a real human being at the Home Office the system error was quickly overridden manually and he could go ahead with his application as a 101 year old.
    nomad and florian gassmann like this.
  18. harsh-but-fair

    harsh-but-fair Star commenter

    So it might be that in the Lala case another 'glitch' has occurred which has yet to be overridden manually? After all the Guardian notes ..

    He was then asked to provide proof of residence for five years in the country, even though he has been in the UK for 54 years and the Home Office is supposed to be able to access national insurance and tax records to corroborate five years of continuous tax residency.
    monicabilongame likes this.
  19. florian gassmann

    florian gassmann Star commenter

    Possible, I guess, but there is often an informant in these cases - an evil ex- determined to cause trouble. I would hope the Home Office verified Lala's birth certificate in the country concerned.
  20. Morninglover

    Morninglover Star commenter

    He lived in this country for 20 years; went to school; went to university; worked; married; has a home and a life.

    To say that makes him 'anyone who feels like it' is duplicitous.

    I have to say every story I read like this, and every weasel worded post supporting it I see, makes me embarrassed over, and even dislike my own country more and more. What a shame.
    afterdark and LadyPsyche like this.

Share This Page