A US Vietnam War veteran who has lived in the UK for 40 years has won his fight to remain in Britain for the time being, thanks to a surge of local support and the intervention of his MP.
The authorities told Thomas Podgoretsky that he had breached the terms of his permanent residency because he had absences from the UK totalling more than two years and he faced being deported to the US.
The 71-year-old grandfather, who lives in Falmouth, Cornwall, said he had been out of the country for medical treatment and to care for his elderly mother in the US.
His MP, Sarah Newton, has now received assurance from the Home Office that he can remain in the UK while a further review of the case is carried out.
Mr Podgoretsky told the West Briton: "I'm still here. I'm not planning to go anywhere and now I'm not expecting to be forcibly deported. The issues are still not fully resolved but I have had a promise that I'm not going to be just kicked out."
His immigration battle has now been going on almost four years.
In November last year, he was contacted by the Home Office to say he could be deported with 72 hours’ notice.
The Home Office said that Mr Podgoretsky had spent a decade out of the UK during the last 40 years on a number of separate visits abroad.
A spokesman said: “Foreign nationals with indefinite leave to remain in the UK forfeit that status if they live outside the UK for a period of more than two years.”
In 2012, Mr Podgoretsky was approved for temporary admission to the UK in 2012, but further applications for leave to remain were turned down. The Home Office’s decision was upheld by a judicial review last year.
Mr Podgoretsky, whose case received huge local support including a petition with more than 6,000 signatures, said: “We are trying, myself and the solicitor, are trying to get this all sorted out.”