A New Zealand-born woman has been denied work in the UK, despite living there for 50 years and being a British Army veteran.

Carol Babbage, 62, was 12 when she moved to the UK in 1967 with her Kiwi mother and British stepfather, the BBC reports.

She was granted indefinite leave to remain there and has raised three children and served in the defence force in Northern Ireland, but says she was refused a cleaning job last year because of her migrant status and has also been told she doesn't qualify for a state pension.

Babbage told the Express the UK Home Office told her she can't work but didn't explain why - she has been unemployed for a year now.

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"It's impacted me to the core. If I don't find employment I don't know what is going to happen to me," she said.

"Work is the main issue in this, because when that was taken away from me it caused disbelief in my close family and friends and they have had to take the burden.

"That was the worst, because I do have the right to work - they had no right to take it away. For someone who has worked all their life it was quite a jolt."

She fears her National Health Service treatment may be withdrawn and believes she is victim of a crackdown on immigration.

Although her New Zealand passport is stamped that she was "given leave to enter the United Kingdom for an indefinite period", the visa is reportedly no longer valid because immigration records are now digitally stored.

"The bureaucracy side of it was shocking, how it was dealt with, when they had all the answers their in front of them," Babbage told the Express.

"They have offered me a 'citizenship ceremony' to go through, which was the biggest humiliation I've ever heard of in all my life. It would make me a British citizen and that would make me eligible to get work.

"I have to have this to get back into work, instead of the automated system that is free."

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She said what had happened was "ridiculous" and that she was "reeling".

"Why are they doing this? They can't just come along and make me do a ceremony, absolutely not."

The Home Office said it was "considering" options available to Babbage and she hadn't been served a deportation notice.

Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants spokesman Satbir Singh told the BBC a "hostile environment" towards immigrants affected child migrants.

Anybody, even those "who have every right to be here, who have entered legally" could find themselves in a similar struggle to Babbage, he said.