Japanese academic forced to leave country on bizarre UK visa ruling

25 Mar 2015 | Posted by Carl Thomas

Dr Miwa Hirono is an expert in Chinese humanitarian and peacekeeping polices. She has held an important academic role at the University of Nottingham sharing her expertise but a Home Office decision has meant that she will be forced to leave the country.

The reason behind the decision? Dr Hirono has reportedly spent too long outside of the UK. In 2009-10 she spent 270 days outside of the UK, while in 2010-11 the number stood at 202. The Home Office rules state that only 180 days a year can be spent outside of the country.

But Dr Hirono has been clear that her travels were required as part of her job: “My work necessitates me going overseas to China, East Asia and other developing countries like Cambodia, Liberia and Indonesia.”

A spokesman for the university added that all but “two very short vacations” were for work trips that had all been approved by the university.

The academic, who is married and has a son born in Nottingham, will now move to accept a position with Kyoto University in Japan.

Mathew Humphrey, the university's head of politics and international relations, told the BBC: "She is global star - the damage in terms of recruitment will be long-lasting.

"To eject her on that basis is crazy - she had a character reference from the vice-chancellor of the university. I can't blame her [for leaving]. She's had enough."

Dr Hirono added that the UK immigration authorities are “basically shooting themselves in the foot” by taking away her right to remain in this way.

"If an international expert thinks their lives will be severed all of a sudden - they won't want to come here."