Expulsion of Chinese academic reviewed

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The Independent Online
A LEADING Chinese computer academic threatened with expulsion from Britain on the ground that his job should go to a citizen of the European Union has won a reprieve.

The Department of Employment said that after an article in yesterday's Independent it was reconsidering its decision not to grant Dr Xu Li-Quin a work permit. The Home Office had ordered Dr Xu and his wife to leave the country within a month.

Dr Xu said when he heard about the decision to reconsider: 'That is very good news . . . I am really delighted about the help from the Independent.'

The decision to expel Dr Xu had shocked colleagues at the University of Abertay in Dundee, where he has been offered a lectureship in computer science.

The Department of Employment did not say how long its deliberations would take. A spokesman said: 'The article has given additional information which could have had a bearing on the final outcome of our decision. We will look again at the case.'

Dr Xu has been working in Britain for four years. He is considered to be among the world's leading experts in artificial intelligence and related computer sciences. He arrived after winning a Royal Society/British Telecom research fellowship at the University of East Anglia in 1990. He has since worked at the University of Sussex and at King's College, London. He had no previous difficulties obtaining work or residence permits.

Earlier this year, he was awarded a lectureship at the University of Abertay and his employers filed a routine application for a work permit. Two months later they were told that it had been refused because the job should go to a resident of the EU. Dr Xu, who is married and owns a house in Britain, received the deportation order on 15 June. 'The last week has been a hell to me,' he said.