A Radcliffe woman is appealing for help in a bid to raise £3000 to avoid deportation from the UK.
Greta Welch, 56, has set up a JustGiving page in order to raise enough money to cover some of the costs of her citizenship application and solicitors’ fees.
When she was just two-years-old in 1962, Ms Welch moved to the UK from Jamaica on her mother’s British passport and has lived and worked in the country ever since.
Now a member of staff at Topman in Bury, she claims that the extortionate cost of the citizenship application has always been the major barrier to her applying.
With Britain leaving the European Union, Ms Welch now fears that she will be deported if she does not acquire citizenship soon.
“I need to complete the full application as soon as possible in order to secure a stable future for myself, my children and my grandchildren,” she told MM.
The mum-of-four added: “I would not ask for help unless I really needed it.”
The cost of the application increased by almost 25% in April, with those wanting to apply for indefinite leave to remain in the UK now forced to stump up £2297.
With no refunds offered if a citizenship application is filled in incorrectly or refused, Ms Welch will also have to pay £1800 in solicitors’ fees.
This means that the total cost of applying will be a staggering £4097.
“It’s so upsetting, it’s just getting more and more. The law is constantly changing and it is getting more difficult and more expensive to apply for citizenship.”
Ms Welch says that not having citizenship has also made things difficult for her four children and five grandchildren, and this is one of the main reasons why she is so desperate to acquire it.
She revealed: “[My children] have been denied passports even though their father is British and they were born here.
“They have had to pay for their British citizenship to get a passport, it’s not as much as mine but I think it is wrong.”
The crowdfunding appeal has so far raised more than £900 and Ms Welch has been overwhelmed by the response.
One comment from a donor reads: “A gorgeous kind-hearted woman, who shouldn’t be in this situation. A great person to work with, please donate what you can!”
Another sympathetic individual added: “Can’t believe this is happening to you. Hope this helps.”
Ms Welch believes it is extremely unfair that she is forced to pay such a large amount of money to become a citizen of the country she has called home for 54 years.
She argued. “I think there should be some form of payment but it should be justified. I have paid into the system here and conform with the British ways
“I have tried every other way of paying for the fees and this is my last resort.”
Those wishing to donate to the cause should visit https://www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/greta-welch