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Grandfather who fled the Nazis during WW2 and who served in the Grenadier Guards had been turned down for a UK passport
Tadeusz Polanski, aged 74, came to the shores of the UK at the age of 7 with his British Parents after they fled from the Nazis during the Second World War.
Prior to settling in the UK during the early 50’s, his parents had lived in the former British Colony of Southern Rhodesia.
Polanski had spent six years serving in the British Army before leaving in order to set up his own business in his hometown of Birmingham. But he remains in a state of ‘limbo’ more than 20 years AFTER his first application for a passport was refused in 1996.
It seems a bit odd that a former soldier, who would have been expected to give up his life fighting for this country, has now been refused a passport!? How has this even been ‘allowed’ to happen?
Whilst there is an obvious need to ensure that anyone in this country is here legally, why is there a complete and utter lack of common sense in the application of these rules?
No reasonably minded person would think that Mr Polanksi should be REFUSED a passport considering that he spent 6 years serving this country!?
It was reported in the Independant that Mr Polanski has stated that: “Essentially, I was told that even though I served in the British Army, I was not British enough to qualify for a passport.
This is my Country, I have served in the forces and paid my national insurance and taxes. I feel as though the least I deserve is my British Citizenship”.
Mr Polanski also explained to reporters that he had been told by the Home Office to apply for a South African Passport if he wanted to travel.
His Local MP, Richard Burden, raised his plight in Parliament last week.
The Current Home Secretary, Amber Rudd, told the House that she found Mr Polanski’s case “very surprising” and had asked for more details on Mr Polanski’s case to be sent to her personally.
Ms Rudd said that: “The default position of the team that I am setting up will be to get the information and to accept people. The only situation where people would not be accepted is on the grounds of serious criminality”.
Representatives from the Home Office later told reporters that they were contacting Mr Polanski about his case.
During Mr Polanski’s time in the Grenadier Guards, he was posted in Germany and Cyprus and took part in various ceremonial duties including the Changing of the Guard and Trooping the Colour.
Mr Polanski has told reporters that he had lived in “constant fear” that he would not be allowed back into the UK at the Borders should he return from a visit to see his family and friends in Australia or Poland.
As mentioned above, whilst it is only right and proper that everyone in this country, who has not committed a crime has a right to be here, surely the staff responsible for Mr Polanski’s case would have known that he had served in the armed forces?
So why on earth did they think that the ‘best’ course of action was to continue to refuse Mr Polanski a British Passport which he so rightly deserves?
We are not talking here about someone who managed to dodge the authorities and has lived in limbo in this country whilst claiming off of the state at the same time as earning money from ‘cash in hand’ jobs.
We are instead talking about someone who signed up to potentially give up his life in defence of this country.
A Home Office spokesman has said: “The Home Secretary has been clear, this is about people who have built their lives here in the UK and contributed so much to our society.
We don’t want them to feel unwelcome or to be in any doubt about their right to remain here and she has apologised unreservedly for any distress caused.
“The vast majority will already have documentation that proves their right to be here.
For those that don’t, we have established a new dedicated team to quickly help them get the documentation they need and ensure this is resolved as soon as possible.
“We’ve also set up a webpage and have been speaking to charities and community groups to ensure advice and reassurance is provided to those affected.”
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