Oxford Student Officer Heather Mayer Refused Work Visa, Faces Being Sent Back To US

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HEATHER MAYER
Student Heather Mayer faces returning to the US after being refused a work visa | Alamy

A bright undergraduate at Oxford University has had to turn down a job to become sports president as she has been refused a work visa under the government's strict new regulations.

Heather Mayer, a US national, will be forced to go back home in six months time due to the home office's immigration policy.

A student at St Hilda's college, Mayer was elected president of the university's sports federation, which is a year-long, full-time paid job starting in the autumn.

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Mayer's announcement was first reported by student newspaper the Cherwell.

An email from the current president to the sports federation read: "Despite the efforts of the University Visa and Immigration Department, Heather has not been able to fulfil the requirements to obtain a visa to stay in the UK to work for the Sports Department beyond October 2013."

Mayer told Cherwell: "I am extraordinarily frustrated by the new laws. It seems they were enacted as an easy way to score political points without considering whom they actually affect.

"I think most people don't realise that laws like these affect a lot of people whom they would probably like to have in the country. Had this been last year, I'd be applying for a post-study work visa and there would be no problems whatsoever. But times have changed, and I can't do anything about it."

Daniel Stevens, the National Union of Students' international officer, said: "Theresa May and David Cameron insist that they want the best and brightest students from around the world but Heather Mayer has been chosen by her peers as the best person to promote their sporting activities and will not be able to take that position simply because she doesn’t hold an EU passport.

“The government have been attempting to score cheap political points by tightening restrictions on international students and graduates but it’s increasingly clear that as with so much of their education policy it has not been properly thought through.”

The government's policy on student visas has been heavily criticised by MPs, who say the tough rules are deterring students from studying in the UK.

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