The Conservative government has denied a foreign politician a visa to visit the UK. And it’s apparently because Amber Rudd’s Home Office thinks he is so poor that he may want to try and stay illegally in the UK. This in spite of the backing he has received from Green MP Caroline Lucas and the fact that he leads a political party in Uganda.
Too poor to enter the UK?
Thomas Kentos Bakyayita, leader of the Ugandan Ecological Party and President of the Eastern Africa Green Federation, was planning to go to the UK Green Party’s Spring Conference. But immigration officials refused him a visa because his earnings are only £112.86 per month. Even though the Westminster Foundation for Democracy was paying for his trip.
I am not satisfied that you intend to leave the UK at the end of your visit as stated by you or that you are genuinely seeking entry as a visitor for a period not exceeding 6 months.
‘Why in God’s name?’
Bakyayita said the Home Office ruling “disturbed” him:
My air travel, my food (lunch and dinners) teas, bed, travel insurance, all conference material like pens and notebooks are provided for. Then why in God’s name am I denied a travel entry to the UK because my wages in my country are less and don’t match those paid in developed countries? Worst of all, I feel totally undermined – just because I was born, grew up in Uganda, a third world country… They think that we travel to run away from our mother country.
But the visa denial on 17 March was not the first one. Bakyayita had been denied another by the Home Office in January. The department said at the time that it was not satisfied with the evidence of family ties in his home country.
His commitment to politics in Uganda alone shows that Thomas is unlikely to overstay his visa… I am extremely disappointed that the opportunity to encourage international political dialogue is being thwarted by unreasonable implementation of the immigration rules… Furthermore, by refusing Thomas a visa to the UK, the Home Office is denying face to face collaboration between green parties across the globe.
The Canary contacted the Home Office for a statement. It said it did “not comment on individual cases”.
Seemingly, the Conservative government is not content with having Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson insulting the world’s politicians left, right and centre; but now feels it must bar some of them because they come from some of the poorest nations on the planet. If the Tories want the UK to be influential on the world stage post-Brexit, then they’re going the wrong way about it.
– Read more from The Canary Global.
Featured image via Flickr
Do your bit for independent journalism
Did you know that less than 1.5% of our readers contribute financially to The Canary? Imagine what we could do if just a few more people joined our movement to achieve a shared vision of a free and fair society where we nurture people and planet.
We need you to help out, if you can.
When you give a monthly amount to fund our work, you are supporting truly independent journalism. We hold power to account and have weathered many attempts to shut us down and silence the counterpoint to the mainstream.
You can count on us for rigorous journalism and fearless opposition to an increasingly fascist government and right wing mainstream media.
In return you get:
- Advert free reading experience
- Behind the scenes monthly e-newsletter
- 20% discount from our shop