AN AMERICAN Shakespeare scholar living in Stratford is set to be deported.
Dr Paul Hamilton has lived, worked and studied in the UK for the last nine years, earning his PhD from the University of Birmingham’s Shakespeare Institute last July.
On January 17 he was arrested at his home by the West Midlands immigration team and after being taken into custody, Dr Hamilton was held at Morton Hall Immigration Removal Centre near Lincoln.
He was released on Wednesday evening (January 27) and will now have to return to the USA on Monday (February 1).
He is believed to have seen documents showing the decision to remove him was taken at the start of December.
The 42 year-old had applied to extend his visa and claims he had not received any notice from the Home Office about whether his application had been successful until he was arrested.
Despite purchasing an open-date return ticket to the USA in case his application was declined, it was claimed the academic was arrested because the authorities feared he would try to evade removal from the UK.
Speaking to politics.co.uk from the detention centre, Dr Hamilton said he had been branded a flight risk due to lack of close ties with family or friends in the country.
But he claims his friends have paid in excess of £7,000 in bail, expenses and lawyers – money he does not have after spending his life savings on his PhD.
Mr Hamilton’s lawyer, Theresa Okogwa, from JBP Immigration Services in Northampton, told Buzzfeed News: “What the Home Office has done is illegal. He has been taken away disgracefully.
“I told him gaining leave to remain would be tough, given rule changes and financial requirements. But we simply never received a response of refusal or any notification from the Home Office.”
A friend of Dr Hamilton, Tim Uotinen, wrote on the Kingston Shakespeare Seminar blog about the arrest, saying the Shakespeare scholar was preparing an application to funding bodies for a cultural history project.
He added: “With 2016 being the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death, these alarming actions perpetrated by UK immigration officials against a Shakespeare scholar starts this year of celebration in a deeply unsettling way.”
After his release, Dr Hamilton told the Independent he had missed the deadline for applying for a research grant that would have allowed him to work with a leading UK Shakespeare scholar because of his detention.