Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn has accused the Home Office of risking Britain’s global research reputation by refusing to accept UK visa applications from foreign academics married to British citizens.
According to Mr Corbyn, the Home Office is using time spent away from Britain for overseas research as a reason for denying UK visas and indefinite leave to remain in the UK to academics.
In one such case, archaeologist and University College London graduate Jennifer Wexler had her application for indefinite leave to remain in the UK refused due to the number of days she has spent out of the country.
However, Ms Wexler argues that each of these days was related to archaeological research work sanctioned by UK institutions.
“It all fell within the requirements of my relevant UK visa at that time, with paperwork provided to the Home Office,” she said. “During all my time abroad, my registered home address has always been in the UK. I continued to pay rent, bills and council tax in the UK.”
Commenting on the case, Corbyn added that the Home Office should begin to encourage the exercising of discretion in its UK visa rules when it comes to skilled experts such as academics.
“This is far from a one-off case: there are many academics who have to travel overseas to properly conduct their research and the Home Office should be more flexible,” he said.