Questions have once again been raised about the state of UK visas and immigrant rights after the release of a recent news story.
A former UK consular worker from Hong Kong was asked to resign from his post after he was allegedly tortured and detained during a work trip to China. Simon Cheng, the immigrant in question, had received a full 2 year UK work permit and visa to allow him to remain in the UK.
However, this specific kind of UK visa only allowed him to spend a total of 12 months employed in the UK, leaving him with no path to British Naturalisation.
The UK visa means that even if Cheng moves to the UK, he could be forced to return to Hong Kong, where he doesn’t feel safe. Critics have said that there should be more options available for Immigration to the UK when protecting ex-diplomatic staff. Apparently, Cheng was kidnapped and tortured when in the UK. However, despite his application to remain in the UK, he still only has a limited work permit for the UK.
Although Cheng was originally granted compassionate leave from his job after the torture incident, he revealed that he was asked to resign in November 2019, ending his two-year service and employment. The British government, however, claims that Cheng left his position completely of his own accord, and without any pressuring. The UK has since offered Cheng a two-year work permit.
Unfortunately, foreigners still need to spend five years in the UK before they can be eligible for indefinite leave to remain. This means that Simon currently has no route forward if he wants to continue to apply for UK visas and remain in the UK in the long-term.
Groups are now using the latest issue with Cheng as another point of evidence that something needs to be changed about the UK work permit and immigration situation.