In his recent piece for the LRB on university privatisation, Stefan Collini mentioned that the UK Border Agency sees ‘universities and colleges as an easy target in its efforts to cut immigration’. The ancient historian Josephine Quinn describes on her blog this week some of the often insurmountable hurdles facing academics from other countries invited to conferences in the UK. To get a visa, they have to ‘demonstrate’ they are not going to stay in the country, which means providing:
full bank statements for the last six months with explanations of any unusual deposits; a letter from their bank confirming the balance and the date the account was opened; documentation of the origin of any money paid into the account; payslips for the last six months; recent tax returns; and evidence of income from any property or land, including property deeds, mortgage statements, tenancy agreements, land registration documents and crop receipts. They also have to supply information on their visit, including travel tickets, accommodation bookings, and email correspondence about any planned trips or outings. ‘General visitors’ are also invited to submit documentation of the finances and immigration status of the person they are visiting, while ’business visitors’ have to provide ‘evidence of previous dealings with the UK company they are visiting’ – invoices, evidence of business meetings, email correspondence. All this, for a visit of perhaps 48 hours.