Today, it has been reported that ‘a high-flying academic expert on China’, has been forced to leave the UK after the Home Office refused her application for Indefinite Leave to Remain. The reason for the refusal was due to the number of absences incurred by the applicant in the last 5 years of her being in the UK on a Tier 2 General Visa. Under the UK Immigration Rules applicants on a Tier 2 General Visa who have lived and worked in the UK for 5 years can spend no more than 180 days outside the UK in any 12 months.
Home Office Decision Driving out Chinese-speaking Experts on China’s foreign policy
Dr Miwa Hirono, a Japanese national came to the UK in 2008 and worked at the University of Nottingham on a five-year Research Councils UK fellowship. Once completing this fellowship Dr Hirono would automatically become a permanent lecturer. For the duration of Dr Hirono’s time in the UK she had a baby and bought a house in Nottingham. She made an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain in March 2013 which was subsequently refused by the Home Office on the basis that her absences from the UK exceeded the 180 day rule. According to Dr Hirono these absences were mostly due to her research into China’s foreign peacekeeping and humanitarian operations.
Dr Hirono appealed the Home Office’s decision in light of her right to a family life which was granted by the Immigration Tribunal. The Home Office appealed the tribunal’s ruling which was admitted last week. The head of Nottingham’s School of Politics and International Relations, Matthew Humphrey stated his disgust and confusion at the Home Office’s decision to appeal:
“Perhaps the Home Office think that Chinese-speaking experts on China’s foreign policy grow on trees, but I can assure them they do not. We put a great deal of effort into hiring the best talent to ensure Nottingham remains globally competitive, but under these immigration policies we are doing so with one hand tied behind our back.”
Despite Dr Hirono having the support of Mr Humphrey she has decided to go back to Japan. The 1 year battle with the Home Office took its toll and Dr Hirono has now accepted a position at Kyoto University in Japan. Furthermore, it is fair to say that her work colleagues are baffled by the decision of the Home Office and believe that the UK Government “driving out an expert on what is probably the most important foreign policy challenge of the next decade”.
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