UK Visa applicants incorrectly advised by the Home Office

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Criticism has been aimed at the Home Office after they advised two Indian Entrepreneurs, hoping to stay in Scotland, to contact candidates for the UK parliamentary elections rather than their local Member of the Scottish Parliament (MSP).

The Scottish National Party (SNP) labelled the advice 'negligent' and 'ridiculous' because unelected parliamentary candidates have no special status when it comes to intervening in UK immigration matters.

The UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) service made the statement after Maneesh Varshney and Vivek Kumar had sought assistance from Nicola Sturgeon and Gordon MacDonald, an SNP MSP.

Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa

Varshney, who holds a postgraduate degree from Edinburgh Napier University in aquatic ecosystems management obtained in 2010, and Kumar, who gained a postgraduate degree in finance from Dundee University in the same year, each lodged an application for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa in 2013 so that they could set up a new business.

The Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa is a visa category that frequently leads to permanent residence in the UK requires applicants who are Tier 4 students in the UK and those in certain other visa categories to have £50,000 in investment funds. Varshney and Kumar are working on a business that transforms food waste into fish food. Others wishing to apply under the Tier 1 Entrepreneur category need to invest £200,000.

Tier 1 Visas rejected

Their applications were rejected and they have exhausted the appeals process, at which point they turned to Gordon MacDonald, the MSP for Edinburgh Pentlands, plus the First Minister for Scotland for help.

They obtained letters of endorsement from Scottish Enterprise for a new visa application; however, UKVI refused to deal with Mr MacDonald because he is in the Scottish Parliamant rather than the UK Parliament.

Pointless asking unelected Candidates

Mr Varshney said: "What's the point in going to an unelected candidate? Even if they give us their support, what guarantee is there the Home Office will listen to them?"

Macdonald said: "This is a ridiculous position for the Home Office to take - advising people to seek advice on immigration from unelected candidates.

It speaks volumes about the total lack of respect that the Westminster system has for the Scottish Parliament that they would rather pass on issues of this nature to unelected people with no jurisdiction over anything, rather than MSPs who have been democratically elected."

The Home Office offered no comment.