The scientific community has raised concerns about the state of UK immigration after a number of academics attending the Global Symposium on Health Systems Research were denied access to the country recently. At least 10 of the 200 attendees were affected by the policy, with arguments raised that such policies could impact academic co-operation.

The World Health Organization (WHO)’s communicable diseases co-ordinator, Dr Masoud Dara, said that the organisation of future international events could be affected: “The tough immigration policies may have an impact on academic co-operation, if specific measures are not put in place to facilitate scientists’ travel to and from various countries.”

One of the researchers denied a visa argued on his blog that he had been forbidden from representing the voice of a marginalised people because he belonged to a lower income group from a lower-middle income country (LMIC): “In reality, it shows that even if someone from an LMIC receives a full scholarship to attend such an international symposium, that person must also belong to an upper or middle-class family that is able to maintain a sufficiently high bank balance for the minimum three months that is required, in order to be granted a visa to attend such an event.”

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