The BBC reports that an overseas student was refused entry and sent back home from the UK to Patagonia after immigration officials refused to believe she was travelling to Wales (part of The UK) to learn Welsh.
Evelyn Calcabrini, 20, was heading to Glyndyfrdwy, Denbighshire, to stay with a local couple for six months.
MPs are going to raise the matter with Welsh Secretary Peter Hain. The UK Border Agency said it ran a “firm and fair” system.
There has been a Welsh settlement in the South American region since 1865.
After a flight lasting approximately 15 hours, Ms Calcabrini arrived at London Heathrow on 25 May, a Bank Holiday.
Two Plaid Cymru MPs, Elfyn Llwyd and Hywel Williams were contacted and asked to intervene when she was refused entry.
Mr Williams, MP for Caernarfon, said Ms Calcabrini had arranged to stay with Eos Griffiths and his Patagonian-born wife Carina, at their home in Glyndyfrdwy.
She had a letter from the couple, confirming they would support her during her stay in the UK.
However, she was told she could not stay in the UK and was sent home.
Mr Williams said:
“I spent four hours on the phone trying to sort this out, trying to get hold of someone at the Home Office, and drew a blank.
“They reviewed the decision internally, they said, but there was no shifting on the decision.”
He said the treatment of the woman had been “disgraceful”.
The link between Patagonian and Welsh people dates back to 1865, when about 150 settlers sailed from Liverpool to Argentina in the hope of establishing a colony and preserving Welsh language and culture.
Mr Williams added: “It’s a matter of not just blood, but culture.
“We will continue to have these problems unless immigration officials understand what the link between Wales and Patagonia is.”
Mr Williams said both he and MP Elfyn Llwyd hoped to raise the matter with Peter Hain at Welsh questions on Wednesday.
A UK Border Agency spokesman said:
“We have strict rules in place to protect Britain’s border and the responsibility rests with applicants to demonstrate they meet the requirements of these rules and will comply with any conditions attached to their leave.
“Where they do not, entry will be refused. The system is firm and fair, and it applies to everyone.”
Immigration Matters Comment
Regular readers of Immigration Matters will not be surprised by this type of incident, which occurs every day of the week at airports all over the UK and demonstrates the need to be prepared to answer questions and, if necessary, justify why you should be allowed into the UK.
Students, visitors and migrants workers should be aware that entry to the UK is not guaranteed and that immigration officers can refuse entry.
In a recent article, ‘Yes, you can still be refused entry to the UK upon arrival‘, for Immigration Matters, Immigration Adviser Cynthia Barker highlighted several cases where immigration officers had questioned arriving visitors on everything from how much money they were holding to why they were carrying several copies of their CV.
Cynthia suggested the following ‘points to consider’ for overseas travellers to the UK:
Points to consider before you embark on your journey
What is the purpose of my trip to the UK?
Do I have the right documentation and am I travelling on the correct visa?
Do I have sufficient funds for the duration of my stay in the UK?
Do I have the full address of where I will be living in the UK in my hand luggage?
If you need any immigration advice or help with Studying in the UK, Settlement, Citizenship, Sponsorship, extending Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit www.immigrationmatters.co.uk