A FORMER jockey working for a successful North-East racehorse trainer has been forced to return to India after a year-long immigration battle described by his employer as “a scandal”.

Carim Mohideen, affectionately known as Frankie, has been left heartbroken after losing his race against time to be allowed to carry on working at a racing stables in County Durham.

Frankie, 55, has happily worked for trainer Michael Dods at Denton, near Darlington, for ten years, paying all his taxes and National Insurance contributions, and never claiming any benefits.

However, the model employee, who has won awards for the quality of his work, has now had to fly home to India after being unable to pass a “Life In The UK” examination due to language barriers.

Frankie, who was facing deportation if he had stayed any longer, fought back tears as he said: “I love working here. I have always worked hard, and I want to stay.”

Michael Dods said: “It’s a scandal. Racehorse trainers struggle to find stable staff to fill vacancies and yet we have someone who is an asset to the yard, has always paid his way, but is being forced out because he can’t pass a test that many Britons would find challenging.

“We fully appreciate that there have to be rules but there also needs to be a degree of flexibility and common sense.”

Sedgefield MP Phil Wilson has described Frankie’s plight as “ridiculous”, saying: “There has to be a review of the system in circumstances like this.”

Frankie, who has bleak prospects of finding work back in India, is trying to support his 16-year-old son through college so he can study to be an accountant.

He aims to continue trying to find a legal route back to the UK and Mr Dods has guaranteed him a job.

A Home Office spokesperson said: “All immigration applications are considered on their individual merits and on the basis of the evidence available.

“Knowledge and understanding of British values is vital for those who wish to make the UK their home.”