A US Academic, had received PhD from University of Birmingham in July, paid £650 to apply for leave to remain in the UK, was waiting to hear from Home Office, with open ticket to return to Arizona.
The Shakespeare expert who has been studying in Britain for nine years is arrested without warning and faces deportation for being an ‘illegal immigrant’
- Paul Hamilton taken from Stratford-upon-Avon home to immigration cell
- Scholar with open ticket to return to Arizona is ‘devastated’ at treatment
- He applied for leave to remain in UK after visa lapsed after end of course
- But heard nothing about bid to stay until he was arrested ten days ago
Locked up: Paul Hamilton was arrested at his home in Stratford-upon-Avon as an illegal immigrant and taken to a cell at an immigration removal centre
A US academic who has been working on preparations to mark the 400th anniversary of William Shakespeare’s death in Britain is being held in an immigration cell and faces deportation after his student visa expired.
Paul Hamilton was taken to immigration removal centre 100 miles away from his home after police swooped on the property in Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire, and arrested him for being an illegal immigrant.
The 42-year-old scholar, who has spent nine years in the UK and received his PhD from the University of Birmingham in July, had applied for leave to remain in the UK and says he was waiting to hear the outcome from the Home Office.
He also had an open ticket to return to Phoenix in Arizona, something which he says showed his willingness to leave the UK if required.
But, despite allegedly being given no instruction to return to the UK, Mr Hamilton was unexpectedly arrested earlier this month.
He has now spent ten days locked away at the centre, awaiting a court date.
Speaking from Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincolnshire yesterday, Dr Hamilton said he was shocked over his treatment.
He told The Times chief reporter Sean O’Neil: ‘Emotionally and psychologically I’m devastated. To be humiliated and forced to leave the country in these circumstances is beyond words.
‘After investing my life savings in my education, earning my PhD, cultivating friends and professional associates I’m being treated like dirt and kicked out.’
After his student visa lapsed at the end of his PhD course, Dr Hamilton applied for leave to remain in the UK to continue his research.
The application, which costs £650 and must be made within 10 days of the expiry of his visa, was put forward on the basis he had built up a valuable network of professional contacts while in Britain.
Mr Hamilton, who has set up various conferences in Britain as well as giving lectures and working on educational podcasts, was also making applications for funding to start a research fellowship.
However, he claims neither he nor his lawyer heard nothing about his bid to stay in Britain – including no letter refusing his application – until he was arrested on January 17 by immigration officers.
According to the Times Higher Education, a Home Office notice given to Dr Hamilton on that day says he was detained because ‘your removal from the United Kingdom is imminent’ and ‘you do not have enough close ties to make it likely that you will stay in one place’.
Dr Hamilton said from Morton Hall immigration removal centre in Lincolnshire (above) that he is ‘devastated’
Ten days later he is still at Morton Hall, telling Politics.co.uk reporter Ian Dunt yesterday: ‘I have no idea how long it will last. I was told I would get a court date today.
‘I was supposed to get one Friday, then yesterday, then they say ‘we’ll talk tomorrow’. We submitted our bail application at 11am last Wednesday.
‘Still nothing. And that’s not for a decision. That’s just to get a date.’
“To be humiliated and forced to leave the country in these circumstances is beyond words”
The Home Office must be able to show that detention is being used as a last resort to facilitate someone’s removal from the UK.
Dr Hamilton, who is originally from California, added that he cannot access his email properly because the computers are too slow, and claimed only one fax machine in the centre works, causing problems for detainees trying to send crucial documents to lawyers.
He said: ‘Passing messages here is like passing dinner through a straw. Everything is delayed.’
Some 150 of Dr Hamilton’s friends, who say he has contributed £100,000 to the UK economy in tuition fees during his nine-year stay in Britain, have now signalled their support after PhD student Timo Uotinen launched a campaign to help him.
Among those who have signed their support are Professor Michael Dobson, director of the Shakespeare Institute, John Gillies, professor in literature at the University of Essex and Dr Patricia McManus, senior lecturer in media and literature at the University of Brighton.
Hamilton’s lawyer, Theresa Okogwa, from JBP Immigration Services in Northampton, told BuzzFeed News: ‘What the Home Office has done is illegal. He has been taken away disgracefully.’
The Home Office is yet to release a statement on the matter.
Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-3418704/American-academic-working-Shakespeare-s-400th-anniversary-arrested-held-cells-student-visa-lapsed.html#ixzz3yRkgfM8o
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