Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Playing by the Rules

Our Austrian correspondent ESW wrote me recently about her colleague Katesvos, who is in a bind with the British immigration authorities after applying for a student visa to study in the UK.

Katesvos is a citizen of neither Austria nor the EU, but as a permanent resident of the EU, she could have easily ignored the rules, and done what so many others have done. She could have taken the Eurostar to London, and then done as she pleased without worrying about a visa.

But instead she behaved like a normal law-abiding citizen and went through the correct procedures, for all the good it did her.

Here’s what ESW had to say about Katesvos’s case:


Here’s the story I promised you. Katesvos is my colleague at the language institute. I saw her this morning and she is more than distraught.

She doesn’t know what to do: her courses start on September 1st and she’s without a UK residence permit. She has the option of entering the UK as a tourist; however, that is actually against the law since, according to EU immigration laws, she is only permitted to enter and remain in the EU for 90 days per half year. She might or might not get an immigration officer who counts up the days…

I want to add that as an Austrian citizen I am ashamed about what is happening to Katesvos. Dozens, even hundreds of others receive permission to study. Heck, I myself stamped passports for students from Arab countries wanting to study in Austria (I was in charge of visa matters at the embassies in Kuwait and Libya, which is why I know a bit about the visa process).

There is absolutely no reason to deny her the visa. She has produced not only all the required paperwork, she also has permanent residency in Austria. She thus has no reason to stay in the UK, which is the prime reason for denying a visa.

Perhaps there’s is a reader from the UK who knows a way to help her.


And this is what Katesvos had to say for herself:
- - - - - - - - -
I was accepted to LIPA, the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts, for the Master of Acting program, which lasts one calendar year. After applying for a student visa and providing all documents listed on the UK’s visa website, I was denied from Warsaw, where all visa applications from Vienna are processed.

The embassy in Vienna told me it does not agree with the decision reached and that no one has any right do deny me my right to study, especially after having been accepted to a school. I have appealed and must wait between three and eight months to hear back from the UK to see if I may have a visa. So, I must go on a 90 day ‘tourist’ visa and hopefully won’t be kicked out.

I met a couple from Oman (very nice family), obviously Muslim, who received student visas for their MA studies without a problem. My study has been paid for since the appeal, and I was denied entry on the basis of finances, regardless of a letter of financial commitment from my parents. I have taken out a ‘loan’ from them for the course, and I am going to find a job to support myself there. Regardless, the letter I received from the embassy stated that they were/are not satisfied even though a portion of the tuition had already been paid and I had already made a deposit on my housing contract (This I had signed for a year’s time).

Considering the number of illegal immigrants, homegrown terrorists, and natives sapping the system, I find this decision ridiculous. I am not asking for citizenship, but simply for legal permission to study for a maximum of one year.

That’s the story in a nutshell. One more thing, however: when I called the embassies (I tried several), I was passed from one person to another and was treated rudely. Very rudely. They were not helpful and did not care, but I suppose that’s why they have the kind of jobs they do.

Thank you much for your help.

— Katesvos

If any of our British readers have suggestions that might help Katesvos, please leave them in the comments or email them to me.

Serious and constructive ideas only, please! Anger, sarcasm, and insulting invective may be satisfying and fun, but I doubt that they will be much help to Katesvos.


El said...

whoa, whoa, whoa. what nationality is she?

normally i would never advocate illegal activity (hem-hem), but if her visa refusal is just some silly glitch on the part of some moron at the home office, maybe she should just come in and chance it.

Conservative Swede said...

This is a general pattern. Last time I checked it was almost impossible for many people to get a visas to Sweden. The Westerners know that as soon as someone is there they have no way of kicking them out, since they are inferior worthless wimps without will power. But they know so (deep inside) so they hold the visa criteria to absurdly strict levels.

X said...

A similar situation involved my sister in law having to fly out to Argentina to visit the Paraguayan embassy there in order to get a new visa because the embassy here wouldn't issue one (against the rules) and neither would any embassies in other EU countries. It might be that this person has to fly outside the EU to get their visa. The home office seems to be very confused about it.

Hesperado said...

All Ms. Katesvos needed to do was to put on a veil and tell any and all authorities that she is a Balkan Muslim -- it would have been smooth sailing for her. In fact, they would have bent over backwards and probably set up a free apartment for her at the taxpayer's expense.

Bert said...

Indeed, the more law-abiding you are, the less EU govements are willing to help you...

Anyway, did she go through the UK Border Agency pages?:

You do not need an entry clearance as a student visitor if you are a non-visa national but, you will have to satisfy the Immigration Officer that you qualify for entry to study when you arrive in the UK. You must be able to show that you have been accepted on a course of study at an educational establishment that is on the Register of Education and Training Providers. They will then give you permission to stay in the UK for up to six months.

If you are already in the UK and need to change or extend your stay, or if you would like more information about work permits, British citizenship or asylum, please visit the main UK Border Agency website.

---By the way: Pls scroll down here and fill in the 'Do I need a UK visa?" questionnaire. What does it advise?

Homophobic Horse said...

Now Alred Adler said that you could figure what people really wanted by what their actions have practically amounted to..

The EU and the tranzi classes are a bunch petit-bourgeois punks who persecute the law-abiding and day-dream about group sex all day long.

Kevin Kelley said...

Without knowing the nationality of the applicant, hard to say.

But, it's not so unusual. When my wife and I lived in the US, she (a Hong Kong BNO passport holder) wanted to change her work permit, because she'd changed her employer. She had to re-apply in Hong Kong, wasn't allowed to do it in the US.

So, we ended up having a 3 week holiday in HK, where she presented her paperwork on the second day we were there, and was approved immediately.