Tanzanian students refused visas for Sussex exchange visit

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A school exchange programme in Sussex has been brought to a halt by fears of illegal immigration.

Sixth formers from Tanzania have been refused visas for the first time in the six-year history of trips to Imberhorne School, East Grinstead.

The school’s headteacher Jon Ford said a Tanzanian colleague was told by the British High Commission it was not satisfied the pupils would return home.

Mr Ford said the school had raised thousands of pounds for the visit.

Mr Ford said the refusal was due to pupils from the Minaki High School for Boys, which is near Dar es Salaam, failing to provide sufficient evidence of economic or family ties to their country.

‘Very bright students’
He said pupils from his school had visited Tanzania in October and formed strong relationships.

“We’ve been doing this for six years and we’ve never had a student even hint of not going back before,” he said.

“And these students are very bright students – they’re doing A-levels planning to go to university, they’ve got bright futures in Tanzania.

“There’s absolutely no chance, in our view, of them doing anything other than coming and having a fantastic two weeks with us, renewing their friendships and heading back to their own country.”

Mr Ford added: “My colleague was told on the ‘balance of probabilities’ the High Commission was not satisfied that the boys were genuine visitors or would leave on completion of the visit.”

A spokesman from the UK Border Agency, which refused the applications, said: “Organisers of school trips must provide a range of information including the names of all children on the trip, a named adult carer for each child, details of where they are staying and confirmation of parental consent.

“Failure to provide any of the information required can result in applications being refused.”

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BBC © 2012

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