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Conference visa refusals spark backlash against Home Office

Academics have warned that “a staggering lack of joined-up thinking” is risking the UK’s ability to host African studies conferences after 16 delegates for an upcoming event had their visa applications rejected.

An organiser for the European Conference on African Studies, due to take place at the University of Edinburgh from 11 to 14 June, told HE that just 30 visa applications from African scholars had been accepted with less than two weeks to go before the conference. Around 130 applications are believed to be pending and, at time of writing, 16 were understood to have been rejected.

Edinburgh planned to allocate money won from the UK government’s Global Challenges Research Fund to some academics specifically to enable them to attend the conference. The GCRF is designed to support research that addresses issues affecting developing countries.

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