Mother’s three-year stay at Stevenage hotels finally over – but at taxpayers’ expense
- Credit: Archant
A mother who has spent more than three years living in hotels at the taxpayers’ expense is now free to move on after her immigration status was finally confirmed.
Lucille Wanjiru and her six-year-old daughter have called the Holiday Inn Express in Stevenage home since January 2012.
And in 2009 the 32-year-old, who was born in Kenya, spent a year living in the former Ibis Hotel on Danestrete.
The bills have been met by Herts County Council’s children’s services team.
Lucille came to the UK in 1994 and was granted indefinite leave to remain by the Home Office in 1999.
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She worked in a variety of jobs before losing her passport, which contained a stamp proving her status, in 2006.
The Kenyan authorities reissued the document in 2007 and she has applied three times for another stamp, which she needs to work.
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Until Tuesday the Home Office rejected her claim for another stamp claiming that she had not provided ‘sufficient proof’.
Without the stamp Lucille was unable to get a job and received no benefits apart from support from the county for her daughter, totalling £80 a week.
She said this week: “It has been going on too long. I have proved that I have the right to stay here but I can’t understand why the Home Office haven’t done anything until now.
“We’ve been here for more than two years now and it must be costing a fortune, all this money has been wasted. All we want is the chance to get on with out lives.”
A Home Office spokesman said: “We have reviewed Miss Wanjiru’s case and will issue her with a biometric residence permit in the next week.
“She was unable to secure this before because she was unable to provide sufficient proof that she had a stamp in her original passport and since the document was issued 15 years ago it was difficult to track down the paperwork.”
A spokesman for the council said: “We can’t comment on individual cases but we can confirm there are a small number of families in Hertfordshire who are awaiting decisions about their legal status and their ability to remain in the country.
“The local authority has a responsibility under the Children’s Act to make sure that any children involved have their needs met and sometimes that involves funding their accommodation and living expenses.”