Cambridge MP Daniel Zeichner has urged the Home Secretary to think again and urgently grant permission to a researcher to be allowed to continue her academic work at the University of Cambridge.
Dr Asiya Islam, who is a fellow at Newnham College, has been given until the end of the month to leave the UK.
Mr Zeichner has slammed the Home Office saying “Britain risks being left behind by a mean-spirited box ticking culture with no regard to ensuring the brightest and best contribute to world leading research.”
The talented academic fell foul of immigration rules after conducting fieldwork as part of her PhD on the subject of gender, class, and labour in urban India whilst in Delhi during the academic year 2016-17.
Her PhD research attracted funding from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, showing its global significance and has the potential to attract further research funding which Mr Zeichner says, proves she is an “an asset to the country.” However, with the looming threat of deportation, Dr Islam has already had to turn down invitations to conferences where her presence would have strengthened the UK’s position as a global research leader.
The Home Secretary has the power to act in such cases as shown when Dr Ernesto Schwartz-Marin and Dr Arely Cruz-Santiago, Durham academics in a similar position, were granted permission to stay in Britain.
Daniel Zeichner MP, who held a detailed discussion with Dr Islam last week, said: “Ministers need to understand that many academics have to work abroad as part of their job. This case is hugely significant and its outcome will be watched carefully by the academic community in the UK and the world. I hope the Home Secretary reconsiders so Britain’s hard-won reputation for global academic excellence is not harmed.”