Welcome to Glasgow. UK Border Force style.


As Glasgow does its very best to embrace the world, through its hosting of the XXth Commonwealth Games, with great success so far, spare a though for seven American teenagers who arrived at Glasgow Airport last night to help a friend of mine who has, for many years, run a youth Summer activities camp on the shores of Loch Lomond.

These seven volunteers had obtained their Visas in plenty of time and two were already on Scottish soil, through the barriers, when the third innocently replied, when asked the purpose of her visit by UK Border Force “Oh, we’re here to help out at a summer camp, as volunteers.”

Cue flashing of red lights, extreme “computer says no” warnings and loud cries of “you’re fucking nicked”.

The two despots on UK soil were immediately returned to the cattle pen that is UK Border Control and were summarily despatched back to the land of opportunity at 9am this morning.

The reason?

Volunteering is considered to be ‘working’ and they didn’t have Work Visas, they had Tourist Visas.

We’ve had a look at the US Visa website and can find no mention of this (apparently it’s a recently introduced ruling).

UK Border Force.  I hope you’re feeling good about yourselves.

Brilliant attention to technical detail.

Well done on stopping what could possibly have been a massive terrorist invasion.

Or a complete destruction of the UK Economy.

Alex Salmond will no doubt point out that this was UK Border Force, not Glasgow Airport or anything Scottish whatsoever.

As for the poor kids at summer camp who are now seven organisers short.  Send UK Border Force a postcard from Loch Lomond, eh?  They probably don’t get many good wishes.


7 thoughts on “Welcome to Glasgow. UK Border Force style.

  1. UKBA is an organisation that is run on such a farcical level. Roll on independence so that we can have an immigration policy that reflects Scottish values and not this damaging, draconian policy set in London.


  2. I don’t want to burst the independence solves everything bubble but this particular ruling is EU enforced – not UK instigated, so if Scotland is to remain in the EU as an independent entity it will be compelled by the same regulations I’m afraid…

    However it is outrageous that non-EU people who wish to volunteer their time and expertise to help out charities w/i the EU are forced to buy a visa to do so at £208/visa. Even if you have a friend visiting from overseas who accompanies you to help out at your local soup kitchen and gives you a hand – they are technically breaking the law!! Nothing like encouraging people to volunteer!!!


  3. Absolute rubbish to say that independence would not improve this situation. Part of the problem listed above is a lack of transparency and available information. Having had pretty extensive experience of the UK immigration process I can assure you that I agree whole-heartedly that it is a major problem.

    Just go onto UKBA (or its new incarnation) and try to find information about say, evidence requirements for spousal visas, just as an example. Then go to a forum like ‘ex-pat forum’ and tell me if the information you find about the requirements is easily identifiable with the information contained on what was the UKBA website.

    I could write a book on stories like the one given above. Scotland will almost certainly do better, as we run every other department better than the sluggish beast at Westminster.

    Look at what the High Court has said about UK immigration policy, look at what folk like the principle of Glasgow Uni have said, and tell me if you think it’s even possible for Scotland to have a more damaging immigration policy.


  4. What a shame, when you have gone to the trouble of highlighting this story, that all the Scots can think about is using it to argue for or against independence. I felt so sorry for the young Americans, who were doing it all in good faith, and ended up spending thousands for nothing but a horrendously long two way journey. But despite being short staffed our camp had a wonderful two weeks and the brief meeting of current staff with the young volunteers seemed to indicate that they would not be put off by this silly bureaucracy and would return in the future. It’s refreshing to note that some people can rise above politics.


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