Award-winning academic due to talk at Swansea University denied visa to the UK
Abdelrahman Othman is an award-winning curator at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization and an employee at the Egyptian government's Ministry of Antiquities
Abdelrahman Othman, an award-winning curator at the National Museum of Egyptian Civilization and an employee at the Egyptian government's Ministry of Antiquities applied for a visit visa to attend a conference in the UK between September 2-10.
He was left "surprised" when his visa was turned down.
Talking to Museums Association , he said: "I didn't see a reason to refuse it. I have a family in Egypt, I'm a PhD candidate and a government employee, and I have a good travel history."
It was originally claimed that low income was one of the reasons.
Carolyn Graves-Brown, the curator of the Egypt Centre in Swansea where the event is to be held, said: "We value inclusiveness, and can hardly have a conference on Egyptology museums without Egyptian colleagues being there.
"Imagine my embarrassment and dismay when these young Egyptians were refused visas. Here we are telling everyone how welcoming we are, how we support young professionals, and visas are refused."
The conference, entitled Beating Barriers, begins on September 4. The three researchers have re-submitted their applications with Graves-Brown included as a sponsor.Graves-Brown added: "Obviously this does not bode well for the future. Will international conferences, especially ones inviting people from outside Europe, really want to hold conferences in the UK? Universities in the UK will suffer, as well as museums of non-European artefacts."
Alistair Brown, the Museums Association's policy officer, said: "There have been a number of recent instances of the Home Office preventing participants at academic or cultural events from entering the UK.
"This is a worrying development and we urge the Home Office to give due consideration to all applications that are linked to these kinds of events. We must work to maintain the UK's standing as a place of free academic and cultural exchange in the face of strict enforcement of immigration rules."A spokesman for the Home Office said: "All UK visa applications are considered on their individual merits and in line with UK immigration rules."
It is understood that Mr Othman's application was refused on the evidence presented in the application and that officials treat every application on the basis that the onus is on the applicant to demonstrate that they satisfy the immigration rules.
However, after receiving further representations on Mr Othman's expenses, UKVI will be contacting Mr Othman shortly to determine if there is further evidence to support his application.
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