Researcher is asked to leave the UK after being granted a leave to remain

After eight years of researching music history at Glasgow University, Elizabeth Ford hoped her request for a visa extension would be swiftly granted. Instead, the Home Office gave the American academic two weeks to leave the country.

Ford has held a research fellowship at Edinburgh University and is due to begin a new research fellowship at Oxford University. But this is now unlikely to happen after she received a letter from the Home Office in July, which said that her leave to remain, granted a year before, was erroneous, and that she must leave within two weeks.

While the government has announced plans to offer two-year work visas for international students, nothing similar has been offered to researchers from abroad, who say the process is hostile, complicated and expensive. University leaders say the situation could block the talent coming to the UK.

Mrs Ford came to Glasgow to do her PhD under a student visa, then obtained a doctoral extension visa for a year. Under the research fellowships she was not entitled to a fixed employment contract, so a charity sponsored her last visa applications. “It is focused on high income and nothing else. But it is unrealistic to expect new PhD students to find a permanent academic job with a high salary.”

Posted on Sep 23, 2019.

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