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Horror of Michael’s Windrush ordeal

66-year-old Camdenite lost his job at school because he didn’t have the right immigration documents

26 April, 2018 — By John Gulliver

Michael Braithwaite attended Torriano junior school and Holloway Boys’ comprehensive

MICHAEL Braithwaite’s story as a victim of the Windrush scandal is a tale of two councils.

Sacked as a Gospel Oak school assistant teacher by Islington Council Human Resources, contracted to administer the staff, because he didn’t have the right immigration documents, he remained employed by Camden Council as a special needs teacher at centres in Somers Town.

His Islington bosses had wilted under Home Office pressure but his counterparts at Camden Council seemed more resilient and independent.

It’s all a bit unbelievable. But it happened.

He was fired by Islington HR two years ago despite protests from his union, Unison, who managed to get him a six-month stay of execution. His headteacher, John Hayes, a Labour man who had stood for parliament last year in Hitchen, Hertfordshire, seemed to be unable to help him.

The fact that Michael had lived in Camden for nearly 60 years – he attended Torriano junior school and Holloway Boys’ comprehensive – and was a thorough Camdenite didn’t count.

Home Office rules were rules, and nothing could stop Islington HR from implementing them.

Michael, aged 66, who came here as a child in 1961 from Barbados, has been stateless, in no-man’s land as it were, since early 2017, but he has got by with the magnificent help of Camden Council.

One set of administrators applied common sense and humanity, the other waved the cold hand of indifference.

But things are looking up at last for Michael. Gospel Oak school offered him a part-time job on Monday – which he is considering – while on Friday the Home Office caved in and sent him his biometric card, making him a British citizen

But should he have had to go through what he did to get it?

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