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The teenager, whose progress on the show was blocked by judge Cheryl Cole despite a popular following, has been ordered to return to her native Zimbabwe, the UK Border Agency confirmed.

Nhengu, 18, was allowed to stay in the country as a dependant while her mother, Nokuthula Ngazana, studied at university. Ngazana's visa has expired and the family's application to remain has been rejected as they did not meet Home Office criteria. The family has been told to leave the UK voluntarily or face deportation.

Some of Gamu's fans, who had have signed up in their thousands to an online petition to have her reinstated to the talent contest, are now writing to MPs and immigration officials to protest against the deportation.

Writing on Facebook, Gary Spencer, organiser of one of the campaigns, urged fellow fans to bombard Westminster and the Home Office with emails.

He wrote: "This is an absolute travesty. I have a pre-written email with all the MP, Home Office and immigration contacts so I think we should email them en masse. Reply to me and I will send you this email to forward on in your name."

Another campaign urged Gamu's fans to telephone the Home Office to protest against her deportation.

Officials are understood to be speaking to Gamu and her family, who arrived in Scotland from Zimbabwe five years ago, about leaving the UK. They do not have a right to appeal and the singer cannot apply separately to remain in this country.

A UK Border Agency spokesman said: "The applications made by Ngazana and her family were considered in line with the published immigration rules.

"Ngazana's application was refused as it did not meet all of the conditions for approval. Her family, who had applied as her dependants, were therefore also refused. Where people are found to have no right to remain in the UK, we expect them to leave voluntarily."

A Home Office spokesman said the decision to axe the student from X Factor was the business of the television show. The show has already denied suggestions that Cole had been influenced by visa issues.

A show spokeswoman said: "Gamu's visa being processed was not the reason that she didn't make the final 12."

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Terrie MorrisonBy:
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