Mum who moved to Britain when she was a baby is facing deportation because she never applied for a passport

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Joanne Power with her children, Lewis,16, and Ellie,17.

A mum who moved to Britain when she was a baby is facing deportation more than 40 years later, because she never applied for a passport.

Joanne Power, 43, was born in Sasolburg, South Africa to British parents, and moved to England when she was just 18 months old.

She has since married and had two children, Ellie, 17, and Lewis, 16.

But the supermarket cashier said she was sent home by her employer last month because she did not have a passport – and could not prove she has a right to work in the UK.

Joanne Power with her children, Lewis,16, and Ellie,17.

Joanne has never wanted to go on a foreign holiday, and prefers staying at home in Angmering, West Sussex.

She said: “At first I thought it was comical.

“If I am not deemed to be British, I could lose my council house, my benefits. It was all a shock.

“There is a real possibility I could not be granted a passport, and then what do I do?

“I would be jobless, definitely.

“It feels like victimisation.”

Joanne has a driving license and birth certificate but her application for a passport was rejected.

She says she was told by the passport office to post her parents’ birth and marriage certificates to Belfast ‘to prove her birth was legitimate.’.

Joanne then received a letter asking her to go to the Portsmouth passport office on July 27 for an interview.

She said: “I’m angry, because I have always believed I’m British.

“But now, people are querying who I have always thought I am.”

Joanne also wondered if her treatment was linked to the Windrush scandal, where descendants of Caribbean people invited to the UK after the Second World War were wrongly detained, deported or lost their jobs because of the Home Office.

Joanne has now returned to work while her application for a passport is processed.

A Morrisons spokesman said: “The law now requires us to check that everybody employed has specific documents to confirm they have the right to work in the UK.

“A passport is one of the documents that can be used.”

A Home Office spokesman said: “We always aim to process applications as quickly as possible, although Her Majesty’s Passport Office will not issue a passport until all checks upon nationality, identity and eligibility are satisfactorily completed.

“These checks include documentary evidence and, for adults applying for their first UK passport, we may conduct an interview to help confirm their identity.

“Mrs Power has been asked to comply with this process in the same way as any other applicant and we are progressing her application.”

They pointed employers to the Windrush Scheme, set up after the scandal, which lets employees work for six months while their passport application is processed.

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