The Nigerian man told immigration staff he had a place at university in Northern Ireland to study engineering and would live in Dagenham - and produced false papers to back up his claim.
He later admitted he wanted to work illegally after being questioned over the 900-mile, 10-hour round trip by car and ferry he would need to make every day. A source said: "His explanation was laughable. He'd clearly never even looked at a map."
Officials also queried how he could tackle a Masters Degree taught in English when he needed a translator to talk to them.
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