A FATHER who has battled for eight years to win the right to stay in the UK has won his fight.

Darren Harrety moved from the British colony of Punta Gorda in Belize, Central America, to England with his mother on a Belize passport when he was six months old.

They were granted indefinite leave to stay in the UK.

However in 2010 his world came crashing down when he was banned from working and faced deportation after he was told he could no longer work when the Home Office could not find proof of his arrival in the country and his mother’s passport had been lost.

For years the 36-year-old, from Nelson, repeatedly applied for citizenship but was unsuccessful.

Mr Harrety, who has six children, had pinned his hopes on staying in the UK through the Windrush Scheme in September.

After months of waiting, the former shopfitter received a letter from the Home Office confirming he had the right to remain in the UK.

Mr Harrety said he was overwhelmed when he opened the letter.

He said: “I have received the best Christmas present, I have the right to remain in the UK.

“I will shortly have a permit to work and study, I am so, so happy.

“My wife and my parents are so happy as well.

“It’s been a really tough few years for everyone.”

Mr Harrety never had his own passport or driving licence but using his birth certificate as identification he was able to vote, get married, hold bank accounts, work and even buy his own home, aged 20.

Mr Harrety said this was the third type of citizen application he had sent off, and he had spent thousands of pounds in total.

Kathryn Harrety, Darren’s wife, said: “This is by far the best news we have ever got, we can’t express how happy we really are.

“After a very long, stressful and hard few years Darren has finely got the letter he’s been waiting for.

The Windrush Scheme was launched this year to help Commonwealth nationals gain citizenship.

It processes citizenship applications for adults and the children of the Windrush generation who joined their parents before they turned 18.

A ‘support for Darren Harrety’ Facebook group was formed to raise awareness and more than 1,000 people pledged their support.

A Home Office spokesman said in the letter to Darren: “I am pleased to tell you that we have established your right to remain in the UK under the Windrush policy.

“We consider you to have indefinite leave to remain since 08/09/1982.

“It is noted that you also requested to be considered for British citizenship, this aspect of your application remains under consideration and we will write to you to confirm the outcome of this as soon as possible.”