London, Nov 12 (BAN/ AD): Last week UK Home Office rejected application of Dr Asiya Islam stating that she had been out of Britain for longer than the specific time for such an application. Following this decision scores of academics, students and activists have signed an open letter to the UK Home Office to reverse its decision and allow University of Cambridge scholar permanent residency in the UK.
Dr Asiya Islam has responded saying it was essential for fieldwork and research. Last week UK Home Office rejected application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) out of Britain for longer than the stipulated period.
Dr Asiya Islam says she had provided relevant documents to support the absence, which was due to time spent in New Delhi for her PhD on "Gender, Class, and Labour in the New Economy of Urban India."
She tweeted in shock post refusal saying "Yes, that's right - the Home Office refused my application because I was away doing academic work for a UK university. The mind boggles." She added "I provided several letters to present the case that fieldwork is a crucial aspect of my work and should not count towards my days out of the country. But nope, apparently I failed to provide any exceptional reasons in support of your out of time application."
Dr Asiya Islam has spent nearly an decade and was awarded a three-year Junior Research Fellowship after completing her PhD from Newnham College at the University of Cambridge this year.
Spokesperson for Newnham College said "Dr Asiya Islam is a highly valued member of the research community at Newnham College and the University of Cambridge. Dr Islam has an impressive academic record: she was a Gates Scholar at the University of Cambridge, was awarded the best degree performance award at the London School of Economics, and received the Dr Zakir Hussain medal for academic excellence from Aligarh Muslim University."
UK home office has said that it would not be "unreasonable" to expect her to "re-integrate back into life and society in India", having only been in the UK for a "short period".
The open letter has been signed by over 900 academic students who say Ms Islam as an "outstanding young academic with a promising career in the UK". They have also called upon Home Secretary Priti Patel for "appropriate discretion" in deciding her application.
Ms Islam is planning to appeal against the Home Office decision and has said "Good luck building a 'Global Britain' when you can't even support global universities."