Ten Palestinian children from the notorious Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon have arrived in the country after finally being granted a UK visa at the 11th hour...read more.
Conservative MP Stewart Jackson has voiced his frustration with UK immigration policy after being assaulted by an immigrant while he tried to perform a citizen's arrest...read more.
A nine-year-old Vietnamese boy's hopes of seeing his uncle compete in the Paralympic Games this month have been ruined after his UK visa application was rejected...read more.
Child Palestinian refugees get UK visa to visit Olympics
The children received permission
to travel to the UK at the last
Ten Palestinian children from the notorious Shatila refugee camp in Lebanon have arrived in the country after finally being granted a UK visa at the 11th hour.
Children from the camp visit the Shatila Theatre Trust in North Tyneside every year but this year's trip was put in jeopardy after being informed their UK visa applications had been rejected by the British Embassy in Beirut just days before their trip.
After contacting Tynemouth MP Alan Campbell, the applications were reviewed and approved but the trip was put in fresh jeopardy after it was revealed the visas would only be valid the day after they arrived in the country.
After paying £9,000 for the flights for the 12 and 13-year-olds, it looked as though the trip would have to be cancelled or the charity would have to pay for more flights which, during the peak time of the Olympic Games, would either be impossible or too expensive.
"It wasn't something we had budgeted for and I feel very angry because it's not our fault, it's the British Embassy and the [UK] Border Agency, but it's us that had to pay," said Peter Mortimer, the charity's founder.
The matter was resolved when the charity was able to change the flights by paying a re-booking fee of £1,500. The children have since arrived in Tyneside but Mr Mortimer says the matter is not over.
"I will take this up when [the children leave], we don't have this kind of money, we are a charity."
The children's teacher, Mariam Najem, who accompanied the group along with two others said the trip had never before been an issue but the situation could have been resolved much easier if they had been informed earlier.
"We have never had problems with visas before, we didn't expect it, and there was no time to apply again," said Ms Najem.
"When we finally got them it was very difficult to find flights, we had to be at the airport and 2pm and we only found out we had got the last seat at noon so we just had to get ready and go."
During their trip, the children watched an Olympic football match between Brazil and New Zealand at Newcastle's St James Park and they will also be creating art projects which will be installed at Tynemouth Station.
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Tory MP bemoans UK immigration policy after failed citizen's arrest
Mr Jackson says uncontrolled UK
immigration rates result in people
drinking in town centres.
Conservative MP Stewart Jackson has voiced his frustration with UK immigration policy after being assaulted by an immigrant while he tried to perform a citizen's arrest.
While out shopping with his family in his constituency of Peterborough, Mr Jackson attempt to apprehend a man he saw vandalising a bus shelter. After grappling with the man, he was kicked in the chest and the man escaped. Mr Jackson says he does not regret his actions despite failing to apprehend the man and injuring himself but says failed UK immigration policies are to blame.
"I don't regret it, ultimately you can't just walk by and watch somebody destroying public property, not just my constituency but my home as well," said the MP, adding that the man was drunk. "Not only did he smash a bottle into a bus shelter, he kicked the glass through onto pensioners and shoppers."
Mr Jackson said that while the problem also resulted from 'too much imbibing of alcohol to the extreme in the city', uncontrolled immigration, particularly from Eastern Europe, was resulting in thousands of people entering the country without work who were turning to alcohol.
"While it's not exclusively eastern Europeans, there are a large number of eastern European people who like to get drunk."
The Peterborough MP said the free movement directive within the EU limited the Government's ability to prevent large numbers of people from needlessly entering the country.
"The free movement directive connects to this, because we've had 20,000 people come to the city from Eastern European countries."
Mr Jackson said such levels of immigration were 'fine and dandy if you're getting the funding to deal with that issue' but in a city with precious few industries to speak of, an influx of people unable to find work presents too much of a burden.
"We've had the proper funding to deal with that, but we're at the centre of the food processing and logistics industries in Peterborough, generally low or intermediate skill work."
The UK has experienced unprecedented levels of European immigration since eight countries including Poland and Romania acceded to the EU in 2004; the Labour Party recently admitted they got UK immigration policy wrong during their time in government.
The current coalition Government have promised to bring net migration to the UK down from current levels of approximately 250,000 to the ‘tens of thousands’ by the end of the current parliament but Mr Jackson says the level of immigration should be secondary to the quality.
"It seems to be bizarre that we're turning away people from India and Singapore with degrees in IT which could grow a business, at the same time we completely fail to restrict access to European migrants with few or no skills.
"That's the crazy immigration system that we've got."
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UK visa rejection leads to Paralympian heartbreak
Daniel Munro will not be able to
watch his uncle compete at the
Paralympic Games in London.
A nine-year-old Vietnamese boy's hopes of seeing his uncle compete in the Paralympic Games this month have been ruined after his UK visa application was rejected.
Daniel Munro had been hoping to see his uncle, John Munro, compete as a member of TeamGB in the sitting volleyball competition which starts on 30 August but his UK visa application reportedly failed to convince UK immigration authorities that he did not present a risk of becoming a burden on state benefits.
Daniel and his mother, Anne, were intending to stay with Mr Munro in London and a family friend, Reverend John Taylor, for a month but has had to cancel the trip after the UK Border Agency (UKBA) said they were 'not satisfied' that Daniel would be 'maintained and accommodated adequately by relatives or friends, or that you can meet the cost of the return journey'.
Daniel's family was informed of the decision only after Ms Munro had paid £1,800 on flights. Ms Munro, who has an Australian passport but lives in Vietnam with her son, was granted entry into the country.
"It's a total nonsense, I don't know what these officials are thinking," said Reverend Taylor. "She is quite annoyed about it, because it doesn't make any sense and it is costing her a lot of money.
"They refused on the grounds that Daniel could be dependent on the benefits system, despite John sending all his bank statements and letters from me to prove that we would support him."
Ms Munro expressed her disappointment that Daniel would not be able to see his uncle compete but said the British visa system should be better equipped to deal with such instances.
"I am not angry about the refusal of the visa for my son if extra evidence is required. However, I am angry with the system," she said.
"Visa applications should not be processed until all the documents have been checked and the applicant should be told of all necessary requirements."
A UKBA spokesperson said the Munro family could appeal the decision which they would 'aim to consider within three weeks'.
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- Dominic Ladden-Powell is the Online Editor for the UK Visa Bureau.
©Visa Bureau 2003-2013