Researchers at Durham University who are currently on UK Tier 2 work permits have been told they must leave the UK within two weeks after spending time outside Britain as part of their jobs.
According to Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin and his wife Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago, they spent nearly 12 months in Mexico working with victims of violence as part of their research roles at the University. However, they have had their applications for indefinite leave to remain in the UK rejected as a result of their travels.
Commenting on the case, the Home Office stated that the amount of time the couple spent outside of Britain “breached” their UK visa rules, despite the fact that the pair has lived in the country for more than 10 years.
Under UK immigration rules, indefinite leave to remain in the UK can only be granted to those who have not spent more than 180 days outside the country during each 12-month period.
However, Dr Schawrtz-Marin argues that the decision to deport himself and his wife as a result of these rules is “fundamentally unfair” due to the contracts they hold with Durham University, which required the pair to spend a year in Mexico following the awarding of a research grant.
Dr Schwartz-Marin said: “We are the cutting edge in academia. It’s why people like Arley and I come to Britain because it’s the best place to be for our research. But suddenly, it seems like you are punished because you have success doing the thing you were supposed to do.”