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Home Office makes U-turn after blocking talented University of Amsterdam student from study visit


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The Home Office blocked a Bosnian student who studies at the University of Amsterdam from coming to the UK for a study visit.

Despite having provided the Home Office with evidence that she intended to return to Amsterdam after her trip, Nadza Dzinalija was prevented from entering the UK for the visit to a conference, organised by the University of Glasgow's psychology department.

University of Glasgow 

Dzinalija, a Masters student in psychology who had previously achieved a distinction in her undergraduate degree, was told that the Home Office did not believe she would “comply with any restrictions placed on [her] by a UK visa regime” as her student visa would expire in December 2018.

She had submitted an application to extend her student visa in the Netherlands in September, and legal experts said there was no reason to expect that her application would be refused.

Speaking to The Independent, Dzinalija said: “I was really surprised. I’ve applied for a lot of visas before and this is the first time I’ve had this experience. I’m bitterly disappointed that I can’t attend [the conference].

“I do feel that the decision wasn’t well considered. I didn’t find the letter to be rude, but I was surprised at the outcome, and the fact that there’s no right of appeal. If I could have requested a review of the decision I think they would have reconsidered.”

Remarkably, hours after this issue was brought to light by The Independent the Home Office reversed their descision, granting Dzinalija a visa. 

Dzinalija told The Independent the Home Office called her on the phone and asked for further information and then later contacted again, informing her she would get the visa afterall. No reason for this suprising U-turn has been given.

The 2018 Times Higher Education World University Rankings list the University of Amsterdam as 62nd in the world overall and 21st in the world for social sciences, of which psychology is one. This subject ranking is higher than major British universities like King's College London (33rd), SOAS (101-125) and the University of Glasgow (101-125).

Immigration barrister Jan Doerfel criticised the visa refusal as "not only unlawful but also deeply insulting to Nadza’s integrity" and expressed concerns about the impression it gave of the UK, saying: “It furthermore portrays a feeling of superiority and arrogance not only towards applicants’ actual life choices but also towards our European neighbours as well as an insensitivity towards needs of academic institutions in this country which aim to keep the UK attractive and at the cutting edge of scientific research.”

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