Two Windrush sisters who describe themselves as inseparable are celebrating after a judge ruled that one of them should not be sent back to Nigeria.
Bumi Thomas, 36, was at risk of removal from the UK and at one point was given 14 days to leave, while her sister Kemi, 38, was not because of their different dates of birth.
Bumi took her case to an immigration tribunal hearing last week, and a judge ruled on Wednesday that her removal was not in the public interest.
“I am of the view that the appellant’s life is in this country where she has made a valuable contribution,” the judge said.
Bumi shares a flat with Kemi in south-east London and is a prominent singer on the UK jazz scene.
Kemi was born in December 1981 and qualified for British citizenship as a child born in the UK to parents from a former British colony. Bumi was born in June 1983, just a few months after the introduction of the British Nationality Act. This stipulated that a person born in the UK on or after 1 January of that year became a British citizen automatically only if one of their parents was settled, held indefinite leave to remain or right of abode or was British at the time of their birth.
The family’s roots are in Nigeria. The sisters’ grandfather arrived in the UK from Nigeria in the 1950s to work and study. Their parents, Lizzy and Segun Thomas, settled in Glasgow in 1974 and Kemi and Bumi were born there.
Lizzy and Segun set up the first black hairdressing salon in the area, called Hairlinks. It became a social and cultural hub for Commonwealth citizens. Kemi and Bumi’s parents moved back to Nigeria with their children when Bumi was three. Bumi returned to the UK when she was 18.