Percussionist Steve Forman, who’s worked with Pink Floyd, David Bowie and many others, is facing deportation from the UK because the Home Office says he doesn’t earn enough to remain in the country.
The 68-year-old American is employed as a lecturer at the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland in Glasgow. His salary for the job falls short of the government’s £31,000 requirement for foreign nationals – but once royalties for his musical work is factored in, he makes twice that figure.
An online petition supporting his position has gathered 3500 signatures, while more than 60 letters of support were written ahead of his appearance at an immigration hearing in London this week.
However, government lawyers told judge John Macdonald: “The public interest in this case is more than enough to justify his removal.”
As well as his work with Pink Floyd and David Bowie, Forman has collaborated with Fleetwood Mac, The Beach Boys and John Lennon in the course of an illustrious career. Many of Forman’s students and supporters turned up to the hearing and were turned away because there was no room to accommodate them.
Defence lawyer Fraser Latta argued: “This is a person who is not only a teacher but also a person of value to the community. This is not someone who is here for monetary reasons. He is not only a teacher for the Royal Conservatoire of Scotland – he is infused by life here.
“This is a man who has had a considerable history of working with David Bowie, Pink Floyd, the Beach Boys and movie sound tracks such as ET. His enthusiasm for what he does drips out of him.”
Judge Macdonald deferred his decision until January, allowing Forman to remain in the UK over the Christmas and New Year holidays. The musician – subject of 2010 film Some Kind Of Drummer: The Steve Forman Story – said after the hearing: “I feel pretty good. The judge was fair to all involved.”