January 25, 2022
Fiji-born former Scotland 7s winger Junior Bulumakau who was threatened to be deported to Fiji after 20 years of service in the British Military has overcome the situation.
Rugbypass reports that a Home Office letter landed on the doormat of Bulumakau in Inverness during mid-January as his Scottish-born wife Heather and children Roana and Noah were threatened to be deported.
The letter read as "I grant you 28 days leave to remain in the United Kingdom without permission to work or recourse to public funds. This leave expires on February 4th 2022."
The letter also demanded that the 30-year-old in his professional capacity is and will -promotion depending – for the next decade be Private Bulumakau of 3rd Battalion, Royal Scots Borderers, The Black Watch.
Bulumakau is 12 years into a 22-year military career, and as a result was more than a little surprised to receive a letter which the Home Office subsequently described as "an admin error."
"A nice letter to receive on a Friday afternoon," he Tweeted.
"Home Office is kicking me out of the country in the next few weeks without any prior warning. I’ve only lived here since I was eight and am halfway through my 22 years in the Army. Wouldn’t mind a holiday to Fiji anyway!."
In addition to thrilling rugby fans in the English Championship, the former Doncaster and Coventry winger in 2015 scored a hat-trick and was named man-of-the-match for the Army against the Navy in front of a packed Twickenham.
After arriving in the UK in 1999, Bulumakau was educated in Edinburgh then followed his Father Bainivalu, who previously represented Fiji at sevens, into the British Army and is extremely proud of the year they spent serving alongside each other.
His younger brother Andy, who currently plays in the centre for National One Birmingham Moseley, both qualified to represent Scotland through residency but hold Fijian passports.
Social media was quick to support Bulumakau who after six operations on his ACL is mixing recuperation with a spell coaching Scotland League Division One Highland whose promotion rivals include famous names such as Melrose, Heriots, Gala and Kelso.
Leicester’s Premiership star and fellow Fijian Nemani Nadolo also voiced his support: "Halfway through year 22 of service to Queen and Country! Getting kicked out to a country that would be so foreign…not mentioning my man represented Scotland in 7s."
But Bulumakau's immediate superiors quickly made contact with the Home Office to remedy the situation.
"Thankfully I have the full support of the British Army and have a further 10 years left of service," he Tweeted a couple of days later.
"It looks to be an error on the Home Office side. Still a shock to see how easy it is to kick Commonwealth soldiers out once their service is done."
Bulumakau revealed how shocked he was to receive the letter, and said as a result he is stepping up his support for a military veterans' support campaign fronted by among others Johnny Mercer MP and Dan Jarvis MP.
"I'm still serving, so I never expected anything like that and when I opened the letter I got a real shock," he said.
By Romeka Romena