A DAD desperate to stay in Huddersfield to support his children says immigration officials have treated him like an animal.
Wayne Panton, 35, has been jobless for the last year while the Home Office deliberates over his application to remain here.
Before that he had been a “model employee” at Disposables UK in Meltham.
The Jamaican father-of-two, currently sleeping at a friend’s house in Dalton, is now penniless and reliant on the generosity of friends to survive.
He is desperate to stay so he can support his four-year-old daughter Naomi and son Dwayne, who is seven.
But he admitted he was on the brink of packing his bags.
“I don’t know why I haven’t been deported already,” he said.
“They told me it would be four to 14 weeks for a decision but it’s been 13 months and I still don’t know what’s happening.
“I’m just in limbo. It has been really rough, terrible.
“I’m not a criminal, all I want to do is work and support my kids.
“There are people that come to this country and don’t work, commit crime and basically get paid to be here.
“I have been treated like an animal, like an alien.”
Mr Panton moved to Huddersfield in 2003 to be with his partner, who he had met on a Caribbean cruise liner while working as a bar waiter.
He started work almost immediately.
The couple married and he stayed in the country on a spouse’s visa. But when they split up in 2006 he had to apply for the right to remain.
After initial problems with the application, Mr Panton received confirmation last February the request was being considered.
Since then he has only been told there is a backlog of applications and he will have to wait.
His children live with their mother.
Mr Panton said: “I came to this country and started work as soon as I got here. I’ve paid my taxes and national insurance.
“Now I can’t sign on, claim Housing Benefit or council tax relief. I can’t live like this.
“It might be best for me to go now so that I don’t have to suffer any more. I have friends and family back in Jamaica, I’ll be able to get a roof over my head and food to eat, but I don’t want to leave my children.”
Disposables UK managing director Dave Burkill said Mr Panton had barely taken any time off when he was with the company.
He said: “He always turned up on time, did a quality job and was a model employee.”
Friend Tracey Marren-Rowe, who has helped Mr Panton, said: “Wayne is a very attentive father, but when you don’t have any money there’s not a lot you can do.”
A spokeswoman for the Border and Immigration Agency, a branch of the Home Office would not comment on Mr Panton’s specific case, but said: “All applications for further leave to remain are thoroughly considered on a case by case basis.
“Unfortunately, more complex cases may take longer to decide.”