Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Lankan immigrant taken back to UK on court order- British HC

The British High Commission in Colombo says the Sri Lankan passport holder who was reportedly helped by a British High Commission official in Colombo to travel to London without a valid visa was an immigrant whose application to a British court challenging her removal from UK went in her favor and had to be taken back to London at the expense of the British government.

A statement by the British High Commission in Colombo said that the Sri Lankan woman was removed from the UK under immigration procedures. She had challenged her removal and the UK Court of Appeal found in her favor and ordered the UK Border Agency to reconsider.

The UK Border Agency instructed that she be returned to the UK at government expense and with the full support of UK Border Agency staff at the British High Commission in Colombo as a courtesy. Given the particular circumstances of the case the requirement for a visa was waived and because there is no category of visa for someone in these circumstances.

“There is discretion within UK legislation to allow the visa requirements to be waived in certain cases. The individual concerned presented herself in the normal way to the airline check in desk and the immigration at the airport. Neither the airline nor immigration sought any further explanation or clarification of the reason for her travel without a visa. British High Commission in Colombo staff accompanying the individual co-operated fully with SL authorities and did not seek to interfere in anyway,” the British High Commission in Colombo said.

British High Commissioner Dr. Peter Hayes was summoned to the Foreign Office in Colombo on Friday. By Foreign Minister Rohita Bogollagama to convey the Government’s displeasure over the move to send the lady back to UK on the grounds that it had violated local immigration laws.

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