« | Home | »

Academic Visa Requirements

Tags: |

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.

Read the full post here.

Comments on “Academic Visa Requirements”

  1. noel thomas says:

    Josephine Quinn shines a very necessary beam of light on the Border Agency’s attitudes to bona fide academic visitors. As the UK ‘sponsor ‘ of a Kenyan lady, invited to speak at a professional congress, I was recently obliged to provide six months of bank statements, letters from my solicitor and accountant and employer ( my self employed status was an almost insuperable obstacle ), confirming that I was not in debt, owned my house, no criminal record, and was compliant at work. Her application for a two week visa was turned down. The reason given was that I did not have a proven connection to the Kenyan organisation where she worked. The visa application papers had made no mention of this requirement.
    I happened to be in Kenya a month before the congress.
    We had paid for her return ticket to the UK, two months before that.
    A two day visit to Nairobi was therefore obligatory. No one conducts negotiations with a government dept in Kenya by phone , fax, mail or email. You take your concern to the Ministry, in Nairobi, in person, and join the queue.
    After a grim morning in the out sourced Visa dept, I asked to see someone in the adjacent UK High Commission. They had no visa dept, the armed gatekeeper assured me. We persisted, and after leaving all my belongings, apart from my clothes, outside the gate, I was allowed in. There was a huge, empty waiting room, beside the visa office, where I presented the evidence of my six previous extended visits to the Kenyan project.
    I left, thoroughly ashamed to be British.
    My colleague was given a visa with a week to spare.
    We had encountered dozens of visa applicants, from Somalia and Tanzania as well as Kenya. The application fee would have meant a few months pay for most of them. Many of questions asked were ambivalent to me – with a lifetime’s experience of forms to read and complete.
    I doubt if any of those other applicants were successful. No right of appeal, no telephone help line, and no one was allowed help from officials or outside agents, to complete the forms- on pain of instant disqualification.
    Why do Kenyans, and other Africans, continue to treat wazungos like me, with friendship and politeness, when they are subjected to such appalling treatment ?
    We talk of being citizens of a global village.
    Maybe we are, if we have a western passport.

Comment on this post

Log in or register to post a comment.

  • Recent Posts

    RSS – posts

  • Contributors

  • Recent Comments

    • mideastzebra on Swedish-Israeli Tensions: Avigdor Liberman was not foreign minister November 2015.
    • lars hakanson on Exit Cameron: Europe will for good reason rejoice when the UK elects to leave. The country has over the years provided nothing but obstacles to European integration...
    • Michael Schuller on Immigration Scandals: The Home Office is keen to be seen to be acting tough on immigration, although I'm not sure that the wider project has anything to do with real number...
    • Geoff Roberts on What happened in Cologne?: The most surprising thing about the events in Cologne (and the most disturbing) is that some 600 incidents of theft, harrasment and rape were reported...
    • EmilyEmily on What happened in Cologne?: The author's argument is straightforward: Sexual violence is one beast; fears about migrants is another - let's not confuse the two. Alfalfa's poin...

    RSS – comments

  • Contact

  • Blog Archive

  • From the LRB Archive

    Chris Lehmann: The Candidates
    18 June 2015

    ‘Every one of the Republican candidates can be described as a full-blown adult failure. These are people who, in most cases, have been granted virtually every imaginable advantage on the road to success, and managed nevertheless to foul things up along the way.’

    Hugh Pennington:
    The Problem with Biodiversity
    10 May 2007

    ‘As a medical microbiologist, for example, I have spent my career fighting biodiversity: my ultimate aim has been to cause the extinction of harmful microbes, an objective shared by veterinary and plant pathologists. But despite more than a hundred years of concentrated effort, supported by solid science, smallpox has been the only success.’

    Jeremy Harding: At the Mexican Border
    20 October 2011

    ‘The battle against illegal migration is a domestic version of America’s interventions overseas, with many of the same trappings: big manpower commitments, militarisation, pursuit, detection, rendition, loss of life. The Mexican border was already the focus of attention before 9/11; it is now a fixation that shows no signs of abating.’

    James Meek: When the Floods Came
    31 July 2008

    ‘Last July, a few days after the floods arrived, with 350,000 people still cut off from the first necessity of life, Severn Trent held its annual general meeting. It announced profits of £325 million, and confirmed a dividend for shareholders of £143 million. Not long afterwards the company, with the consent of the water regulator Ofwat, announced that it wouldn’t be compensating customers: all would be charged as if they had had running water, even when they hadn’t.’

Advertisement Advertisement