The UK Government’s Immigration Minister has been urged to intervene following the refusal of Visas to delegates set to attend the World Community Development Conference in Dundee later this month.

The World Community Development Conference, which will be held in the University of Dundee and other venues across Dundee from the 23rd to 30th June, will see hundreds of delegates from countries across the world descend on the city in an eight day learning and cultural festival and conference to discuss and develop approaches to work in the local community.

Seven delegates so far have had their visas refused, from countries including Nigeria and South Korea. Their refusal has resulted in some Conference sessions being adversely affected.

Other high-profile events in Scotland have previously been adversely affected by refused Visas. Last year, the WUKF World Karate Championships held in Dundee saw competitors unable to travel to take part, and last week the Scottish Government announced its intention to hold a summit to discuss issues facing visiting artists, following problems with numerous cultural festivals including the Edinburgh International Festival.

Chris Law MP, whose constituency of Dundee West hosted the WUKF World Karate Championships and will host the World Community Development Conference, has written to the UK Government’s Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes MP asking for her assistance in reviewing the individual cases. He cited the reputational damage to both Dundee and the United Kingdom’s international prestige and the economic damage to the city as just two important reasons why the UK Government must not persecute visiting academics and professionals.

Clare MacGillivray, Chair of the World Community Development Conference, said:

“The UK Government’s refusal of visas to our global delegates is deeply disappointing for the World Community Development Conference. Dundee is ready to welcome over 400 delegates from around the world in a few weeks time in an eight day learning, cultural and community development conference, and the loss of expertise from global colleagues will be strongly felt.”

Chris Law, MP for Dundee West and SNP Westminster Spokesperson for International Development, said:

“The Home Office’s hostile approach to visiting academics, sportsmen and artists is causing massive hurt to both Dundee and the United Kingdom’s international reputation, and damaging efforts to attract visitors and migrants to Scotland. This will be a fantastic event for delegates and for Dundee alike, and it is frankly disappointing that the Home Office would put up such blocks to attendance.

“The suggestion that these professionals are going to abandon their life’s work, their jobs and their families in their home countries is ludicrous, and the UK Government must urgently intervene and ensure that all delegates are able to attend later this month.”

Councillor John Alexander, Leader of Dundee City Council, said:

“”Dundee’s hosting of this global event should be a source of celebration, welcoming contributors from a wide array of nations.

“It’s deeply disappointing and quite frankly, a slap in the face to the organisers and contributors of this event.

“Every one of those refused a visa have been supported, submitted the correct documentation and have the necessary requirements. The Home Office should reconsider this backward position.”

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