Yet another public outcry has been sparked by the Home Office this month, following a refusal to provide a Cambridge research follow with a UK work permit. The Home Office rejected the researcher, Dr Asiya Islam, indefinite leave to remain in the UK, stating that she must instead leave the country when her visa expires in January 2020.
Following the decision, more than 100 academics have already leapt into action, signing an open letter and petition to protest the decision. The letter calls for the decision regarding the UK work permit to be reversed. Dr Islam has been a resident in the UK for more than a decade and has said that the current environment for UK visas is driving global researchers away from the country. The current political environment is considered to be creating a "hostile" environment for many individuals today.
Islam submitted her application for a UK work permit and indefinite leave to remain in the UK on the 20th of September, paying additional fees for the application for a decision to help her receive a decision within 24 hours. The Home Office claimed that her request had been rejected because she had been out of the country too often. However, Islam had spent a year out of the country as part of the research for her PHD study with Cambridge.
Islam has also provided letters from the sociology department at her school to prove that the fieldwork was critical to her research.
According to the Home Office, indefinite leave to remain is typically refused when it is requested by someone with a tier 4 visa for a general student. However, the open letter of appeal has also stated guidelines published in October of this year, which says that time abroad can be ignored for Tier 2 visa holders who have a PHD occupation lined up.