BY TOBY PORTER
A Windrush generation immigrant has been told he can stay in South London permanently after he was left biting his nails during an investigation.
Ian Anthony Griffiths was investigated by the Home Office despite producing scores of documents which prove he had the right to remain and that he had lived in the UK for almost half a century.
He was told the probe would take two weeks. In the end it took eight times that period.
Ian – or Tony as he is known to his friends – is now planning to set up his own design and decorating business and get married. Both huge life changes had to be put on hold when the Windrush scandal blew up.
He is also planning to go on holiday to south-east Asia to meet his fiancee Tathitta’s family.
The 58-year-old said: “I am so happy about it. The stress is over and I have been getting a decent night’s sleep at last. “The Home Office investigators in Sheffield called me to tell me before they sent me the paperwork.
They were bending over backwards to help once the decision was made to let me stay. “I could not understand why I was investigated in the first place. It was okay for me to vote, go to work and pay taxes but not to get the right papers.
“Everything is in place to start the business – I have four staff already and contacts who have said they would direct work my way once I was sorted.
“I am really looking forward to flying to meet Tathitta’s family. I have not gone abroad since I came here 50 years ago.”
Tony had received years of disability benefit so feared he might have to pay that back if his ability to remain was not verified. The South Londoner has three brothers and three sisters who have already been told they have the right to stay.
But the father-of-four could not afford a solicitor to take the case to court.
Mr Griffiths had attended Lunar House to confirm his ability to remain on May 15.
A receptionist said the massive pile of documents he had brought would be “more than enough” to complete his application – which included a letter from the Home Office in 1997 saying he has indefinite leave to remain, which also gives his no time limit (NTL) number.
He also handed in 62 pages of pay, tax and benefits statements, including his unique tax reference, every address he has ever lived at since he arrived in 1969, all his medical records, his marriage certificate to his English wife and his driving licence.
But the person working on his case allegedly told him the documents could be forgeries.