Neil Turner's Blog

Blogging about technology and randomness since 2002

Life, the universe and immigration

Sometimes the immigration laws we have in this country (and indeed Europe as a whole) really iritate me. Today is one of those days.
An overseas student came to Bradford to do a postgraduate MA in Peace Studies. From what I can gather, to support himself, he also took on part time work – postgraduate degrees aren’t cheap so this is hardly surprising and many students do it. However, he did more work than his visa allowed, and, as such, he’s now been detained in Colnbrook Immigration Removal Centre down in Middlesex, near Heathrow Airport and is awaiting deportation back to his home country.
But get this – he only worked 2.5 hours over the limit. Seriously. And for that, he’s being held in a cell and then getting deported. The student also alleges that he was physically assaulted by an officer involved in the deportation process.
Naturally the student union are incensed by this and will do everything they can to allow him to remain here to complete his studies (the university are also working on the issue), but I felt I had to write about this here as I really cannot see the logic in resorting to deportation for such a minor breach of visa limits. It doesn’t send a very positive message to other students who want to come and study here but whom may need to support themselves financially while studying.
Update: There’s now a follow-up with more information.


  1. That’s shocking to say the least. Surely becoming more inviting to foreigners would add to the culture and economy! Those who require work permits generally suffer too I’m told with regard to full time work since companies do not want the added hassle of trying to support them and sponsor visa extensions.

  2. I believe a lot of this is spawned by the press,
    I picked up a copy of the Daily Mail for the first time in ages today (and the last).
    You would think there is a mass invasion going on the way they write the stories.
    How long will it be until we are on our hands and knees inviting more imigrants to the UK.
    With the pension crisis looming, an ever inreasing number of retired people living longer, and a shrinking birth-rate, in 20 years time we will be desperate for anybody of working age to come here.

  3. You have someone who actually wants to study and do something positive, but then on the other hand there are so many in my area who simply don’t have a visa to live here, work illegally, sell drugs, marry for passports and so on and they get away with it and have no problems what so ever ! Its so sad to see that, one who was actually no t sponging off the UK social services worked, paid taxes, paid for his education and then is penalised because he worked too much ! Come to East London, and see all who work and claim benefits and drive their BMW’s with blacked out windows taking over the roads with thunderous bass lines in their in-car stereo systems, intimidating the local community by letting off fireworks in the streets and I KNOW they don’t have a visa let alone a passport.
    The Government system has been set up to fail people who are honest and hard working, and as humans we are not perfect, so when we falter we get in trouble. I am talking out of personal experience. People who drive legally, with a drivers licence, and who pay their insurance are penalised for going over the speed limit by 10mph, because they have all our details when someone who stole a car, went over the speed limit – crashed into something and then the police cant trace the perpetrator because they don’t have the details ! Now call me far fetched !
    Glad to hear that the university is standing by the person involved.

  4. I have to wonder if he’d be in that cell if he were a native of America, Australia or New Zealand.

  5. At the end of the day, he took the visa understanding that if he broke the rules, he would be required to leave the country.
    Officers only use physical force if detainees disobey lawful orders, and only then as a last resort. Regardless of your opinions on immigration law, it IS law, and resisting deportation becomes a simple law enforcement issue. By law, he has no right to refuse it.
    It’s a sad case, I’m willing to accept that he genuinely wanted nothing but to undertake his degree, and fair play to him, it’s just unfortunate that he obviously didn’t grasp how precious an opportunity he had been given.