I was meant to fly to London next week to participate in the British Airways Ungrounded program, presenting a proposal about access to STEM education for underserved and emergent populations to members of the G8, who are convening in Dublin for their Summit. The British consulate said I couldn’t go. Below is why, verbatim. Note that I provided emails, websites, articles, and all and sundry manners of electronic evidence alongside my application. If this system isn’t broken, I just don’t know.
You state you are currently employed as a venture capitalist for Collaborative Fund. However, I note you have provided no evidence to support this claim. On the evidence available it appears you have yet to establish yourself in terms of property, assets, career or family commitments. In view of this, I am not satisfied that you have sufficient ties to the US that would prompt your departure from the UK at the end of your proposed stay.
You have stayed in your application form that the main purpose of your visit is for a business conference. You go on to state that you have been invited by British Airways who will cover your travel to the UK as well as cover your expenses while in the UK. However, I note you have provided no evidence to support this claim. Consequently, I am not satisfied the activities you propose to undertake in the UK as permissible as a business visitor.
I have therefore refused your application because I am not satisfied, on the balance of probabilities, that you meet all of the requirements of the relevant Paragraph of the United Kingdom Immigration Rules.
For all of my Silicon Valley and tech community friends who go on about the gross inefficiencies and broken policy of immigration and naturalization services, this is what it feels like. It feels like I’m a second class citizen and a liar. It sucks. Thank you for focusing on this problem for people trying to enter the United States. If we can effect policy change that makes this system more sensible here, perhaps other countries will follow, and talent and information will flow properly around the world, as one would expect of 2013. The world is shrinking, but not for everybody. Not quickly enough.