The UK Border Agency has made a major faux pas in banning 60 Pakistani's from a trade and cultural visit from Lahore to its twin city Glasgow.
The rejected visas of the 60 covered two groups a delegation of the District Government their failure to arrive meant that trades talks with local officials in Glasgow were called off, as only the deputy mayor was allowed a UK visa. All the delegation had been invited by Glasgow City Council.
The cultural element was the return of the Patiala Pipe Band, who for the last four years have added colour to the World Pipe Band championships. They were not able to perform in the preliminary competition yesterday following their refusal to travel.
Hanzala Malik, executive member for Glasgow City Council's international affairs group said:
"These business-people are phenomenally important to us when it comes to trade. For them to be refused entry after we invited them is hugely embarrassing
"We need to be trading with people to safeguard our businesses and we can't do that if our Foreign Office is saying it's unsafe to go to certain parts of the world and refusing people entry here."
Anne McLaughlin MSP pointed out that the band had encountered difficulties last year to attend the same event, but were eventually given visas, but said:
"For this to happen once was bad enough; to repeat it this year is a disgrace. I will be in touch with the Borders Agency to get this decision reversed.
"This kind of decision gives Scotland a bad name and shows up the shambles within the UK Border Agency."
The UK Border Agency is there to do a job of security but their failure to identify genuine people with important business, or of cultural significance right to a stay in our country is ridiculous. Having worked for a charity with international volunteers in the past I have stood behind passport control having whizzed through the UK gate anxiously as the letters of commendation have been viewed by passport officials.
The UK Border agency are staying tight lipped saying that:
"All applications for entry clearance are considered on their individual merits, taking into account all evidence submitted and in accordance with the
So clearly if top local government officials, who one would expect had the necessary documentation, nous and ability to fill in immigration documentation cannot do so one wonders just what difficulty individuals without such assistance have.