Denzel Darku’s dream to become an NHS nurse nearly ended after Home Office ordered him to leave the country.
We revealed earlier this year how Home Office officials wanted to throw Denzel Darku out of Scotland despite him having lived here since he was a young teenager.
The 23-year-old carried the Queen’s Commonwealth baton as a schoolboy in 2014 and was a member of the Scottish Youth Parliament (SYP) as well as volunteering for charities.
But he was forced to put his dream of becoming an NHS nurse on hold and leave Stirling University in 2016 when the UK Government ordered him to return to Africa.
Our coverage of the scandal sparked a political outcry and swift Tory U-turn.
Denzel, from Paisley, was eventually granted the right to live and work in the UK indefinitely.
It meant that last week he was finally able to return to his studies after being readmitted to the second year of his nursing course.
Denzel said: “I am so happy to be at uni again and I am really determined to get my studies and a new career back on track after quite a long lay-off.
“I feel like I have loads of catching up to do, revising the work we covered in my first year before I had to leave.
“I am going to be starting a placement at Forth Valley Royal Hospital, which is really exciting.
“On one hand, it is a shame I had to spend the last two years away from studying because I am a young man and all I want to do is get on in life.
“But things happen for a reason and I am just glad to be back on track now.
“I am really thankful for all the help and support I received with my case. It was overwhelming and it has made me feel like Scotland really is my home.
“Hopefully now I can go on to help lots of other people through nursing – because that has always been my dream.
“I want to thank everyone who has been there for me and encouraged me. My focus now is to make sure I don’t disappoint people who have invested their time and effort in me.”
Denzel moved to the UK from Ghana as a 14-year-old to be with his dad and worked hard to integrate in his new community.
The attempt to kick him out of the country was compared to the Windrush scandal, which saw immigrants who arrived in the UK as children denied jobs and threatened with deportation.
Officials wanted to eject Denzel on a technicality, claiming he hasn’t been able to prove dependency on his dad.
As a youngster, he attended Paisley Grammar School and met FM Nicola Sturgeon while serving on the SYP in 2013.
But he had to drop out of his studies after the Home Office refused to grant him a visa in 2016.
His case prompted an intervention from Sturgeon and Home Secretary Sajid Javid, who announced he was “sympathetic”. The SYP and Denzel’s MSP Neil Bibby also intervened.
Three weeks after our original story, his lawyers were informed that the Home Office had decided not to pursue the case.