Daft things that happen in higher education (3)

I am examining a doctorate next week, and the university wants to see evidence of my right to work in the UK. I have already blogged about another university which asked me to bring my passport with me. Now we have a refinement of this redundant procedure: this time, they ask for “a photocopy of the front cover and photo page of your passport”.

Now, just suppose that I were in fact an illegal immigrant. Somehow I have persuaded my own employer that I have the right to work in the UK, but the doctoral student’s university does not trust my employer. In which case, why ask me to supply a photocopy – which a cunning criminal can easily ‘doctor’ (a good word to play with in the circumstances).

And a photocopy of the front cover – well, anyone who has seen an EU state’s passport knows that the outside covers do not contain a single distinguishing feature. What useful purpose can it serve? And does the doctoral student’s university keep on file hundreds of identical photocopies of passport covers?

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4 thoughts on “Daft things that happen in higher education (3)

  1. the front cover demonstrates that you are a british citizen and having worked at at least 2 british universities, I wouldn’t trust your employer either!

    However, I am much more interested in the advert for high heeled shoes which accompanies your blog page on my lap top screen. Is this so that the small Scotswoman you are keen on can reach up to give you a hug?

    Hugs!

    czx

    • Thank you both. Cathy, I agree that the front cover shows that someone (not necessarily me) is a British citizen, but all that information and more is also on the photograph page, so this is entirely redundant. And very silly. So, of course, is the rule excluding someone who is not a current employee of another university – particularly if it means excluding retired members of staff. Indeed, it could be seen as discriminatory!

  2. Infuriating and exasperating too. I was invited to examine a doctoral thesis by staff at a university recently (done it before elsewhere), only to have the invitation withdrawn when it was realised that my tenure with the Open University (5 doctoral students; academic coordinator for 10 more; currently dealing with several EdD applications) meant that I was not a ‘member of staff’. The rules say the examiner must be a ‘member of staff’ at another university.
    Peter

  3. As I understand it, the actual ridiculous reason is this: UKBA staff reckon that one of the easiest ways to identify a forged passport is to check the (outside) front cover. So all employers have to check the front cover. So all employers have to photocopy the front cover, to demonstrate they’ve checked it, otherwise UKBA threatens to take their license to recruit non-EEA nationals away.

    “And does the doctoral student’s university keep on file hundreds of identical photocopies of passport covers?”

    Yep. They’ll have to have them held securely, but have them accessible for UKBA audits. Hundreds and hundreds *per year*.

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