Rejected 'X Factor' hopeful Gamu Nhengu must leave the UK voluntarily, the UK Border Agency said today.
The 18-year-old singer was allowed to stay in the country as a dependent while her mother, Nokuthula Ngazana, studied at university.
But the visa has now run out and the family’s application to remain in the UK has been rejected as they did not meet all the criteria set down by the Home Office.
They must now leave the UK voluntarily or face deportation to their native Zimbabwe.
A spokesman for the Home Office said the decision to axe the student from 'X Factor' was the “business” of the television show. He could not say whether the omission by judge Cheryl Cole had been decided after talks between immigration officials and the programme’s bosses.
Officials were now speaking with Miss Nhengu and her family, who arrived in Scotland from Zimbabwe five years ago, about leaving the UK. They do not have a right to appeal and the singer cannot apply separately to remain in this country.
A UK Border Agency spokesman said: “The applications made by Ms Ngazana and her family were considered in line with the published immigration rules.
“Ms Ngazana’s application was refused as it did not meet all of the conditions for approval. Her family, who had applied as her dependants, were therefore also refused.
“Where people are found to have no right to remain in the UK we expect them to leave voluntarily.”
So far more than 210,000 fans have signed up to a Facebook page called Gamu Should Have Got Through, protesting against the decision by Cole on Sunday to leave Miss Nhengu out of the final 12.
Former 'X Factor' star Stacey Solomon yesterday gave her backing to the starlet, saying: “I think she should get a second chance, and everyone thinks it. But we’ll see what happens. Everyone loves her, she was brilliant.”
At least one of the rejected contestants will be given a lifeline at the weekend as a wild card on Saturday night’s programme.
Show bosses have denied reports that Cole was influenced by fears that Miss Nhengu’s visa was due to run out. A spokeswoman for the ITV1 talent show said: “Gamu’s visa being processed was not the reason that she didn’t make the final 12.”
Bookmakers clearly think she will get a second chance. Paddy Power is offering odds of 11-2 on her winning the show – better odds than the 18-1 offered on Katie Waissel, who got through at Miss Nhengu’s expense.
Painter and decorator Matt Cardle is the favourite to win at 11-4.