Show boss says he "feels for her situtation"
Simon Cowell has drafted in his own lawyers to help Gamu Nhengu, controversially rejected by X Factor, from being sent back to Zimbabwe nfrom the UK.
The 18 year-old, who lives in Clackmannanshire in Scotland, has been threatened with deportation while auditioning for the talent show. This week, after judge Cheryl Cole decided against putting Gamu forward to the live shows, it was announced that deportation was likely to go ahead after Nhengu‘s mother’s visa application was turned down.
“We are helping Gamu and her family as much as possible,” Cowell said. “We have lawyers working with her lawyers, not because we have to – but because I really feel for their situation, and that’s outside of the show.”
Despite reports this week over Nhengu‘s rejection, Cowell insisted that show bosses were not aware of her visa situation while she was on the programme.
More than 250,000 fans have signed up to a Facebook page called Gamu Should Have Got Through, in protest at judge Cole‘s decision to leave her out of the final 12.
The teenager’s mother Nokuthula Ngazana was permitted to stay in the UK while she studied at university, with her daughter allowed to remain in the country as her dependant. However, Ngazana‘s application to remain in the country was turned down, with the UK Border Agency saying it did not “meet all of the conditions for approval”.
The visa extension was turned down on the grounds there was an administrative error in the application.
BBC News report that the family’s solicitors said the error was due to Ngazana giving the wrong bank details, so the fee for the application could not be taken.
Cowell‘s lawyers are expected to advise on the appeal to a Glasgow tribunal and it is understood an X Factor producer has been assigned to look after the family.
Nhengu reportedly fears for her safety if she is forced to return to her native Zimbabwe.