Zambian-born nurse deportation put on hold, MP says

Dianne Ngoza
Image caption Dianne Ngoza has national support which has been a "great comfort" to her, MP Lucy Powell says

The deportation of a Zambian-born nurse who has lived and worked in Greater Manchester for 14 years has been postponed.

Dianne Ngoza was due to be removed from the UK at 17:00 GMT after losing an immigration battle.

Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell said she had "received assurances" from immigration minister Robert Goodwill that the case had been put on hold.

She is now calling for Ms Ngoza to be freed from detention at Yarl's Wood.

'Overwhelming support'

Ms Ngoza left Zambia 22 years ago and has "no network of social, family or work with anyone back in Africa," and considers herself British, her campaign website says.

However, she was ordered to leave after her visa renewal was turned down.

Image caption Manchester Central MP Lucy Powell said the government had refused Dianne Ngoza an in-country appeal against deportation

More than 2,000 people have since signed a petition to keep her in Greater Manchester.

Campaigners say she has been involved in a range of community organisations and human rights groups, and had recently been nominated for a Spirit of Manchester 2016 award.

Ms Powell said people's "overwhelming support" had been a "great comfort" to Ms Ngoza.

"I am pleased that the minister has listened to the concerns raised about Dianne's case and I will continue to put pressure on the minister until all avenues have been exhausted," she said.

'Right to appeal'

Ms Powell added that Ms Ngoza should now be released from Yarl's Wood Immigration Removal centre in Bedfordshire and given the right to appeal against her deportation from within the UK.

Meanwhile, solicitors have launched an appeal for Ms Ngoza to be able to stay under human rights legislation, but that application has not yet been heard.

Mervyn Cross, of law firm Duncan Lewis, said he was yet to receive correspondence from the Home Office confirming the latest developments.

The firm would therefore still submit an application challenging Ms Ngoza's removal, he added.

A Home Office spokesman said: "We expect people with no legal basis to remain in the UK to leave the country voluntarily, and we provide support to help people return to their home country.

"Where they refuse to do so we will seek to enforce their removal."

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