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Home Office to reconsider Gamu case

X Factor contestant Gamu Nhengu and her family are "hopeful" they will be allowed to remain in the UK after the Home Office decided to reconsider her case.

The 18-year-old singer, who was eliminated from the ITV talent show at the judges' houses stage, was told she must return to her native Zimbabwe after her mother Nokuthula Ngazana's visa application was turned down.

An appeal against that decision was due to be heard at an Immigration Tribunal in Glasgow. However, at the start of the hearing, a Home Office representative said the case would be reconsidered and a "fresh decision will be made in due course".

Speaking after the hearing, the family's lawyer, Frances Farrell, told reporters: "The family are pleased that the Home Office have withdrawn their decisions and decided to reconsider my clients' cases.

"The family are hopeful that they will now be granted leave to remain in the UK. They want to thank everyone for all the wonderful support they have had."

Miss Nhengu, who lives with her family in Tillicoultry, Clackmannanshire, was allowed to stay in the country as a dependant while her mother studied at university. But her mother's visa expired and the family's application to remain was rejected as they did not meet Home Office criteria.

The move came amid allegations, denied by the family, that Ms Ngazana had wrongly claimed working tax credits.

The family was told last month to leave the UK voluntarily or face deportation.

Despite initially being told they had no right of appeal, the family was given a lifeline after being granted a full appeal hearing before a judge.

The case, an appeal against the refusal of Ms Ngazana's visa, was expected to be heard before immigration judge Mungo Deans but was halted by a Home Office representative.

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