Move to Rome
It is with mixed feelings that we announce our move to Rome.
St Anselm’s started in 1985 in Damascus House, Mill Hill, moving the following year to Cliftonville where for 31 years now we have enjoyed a very positive experience: an excellent location by the sea and a welcoming community where we have felt very much at home. Just under 5000 participants have received Diplomas and Certificates from the Institute of St Anselm over its 32 years, and participants have come from around 90 different countries, all contributing to the richness of life at St Anselm’s.
However, we have now had to face a reality which has become painfully evident over the last few years, viz the ever greater difficulty we have experienced in securing visas for our participants. The Institute has worked hard and dedicated much time and effort to ensure that we meet all the requirements of the Home Office. We have had many inspections by the Home Office and agencies working on their behalf, and they have never found any reason to fault us: we have always been open and honest, and have always received excellent reports.
And yet, despite all this, we have been told that we are ‘‘considered a threat to immigration because more than 10% of our students have been refused a visa”. The sad fact remains that many of the refusals have been due to mistakes on the part of the Home Office, yet these still count against us and contributing to the 10%.
We also realise that this has added to the financial burden of congregations who have often had to apply for a visa a second or even a third time, to say nothing of the compulsory English exam, which also has to be repeated with each visa application.
We have made many adjustments to accommodate this difficult situation: e.g. making it possible to start at different times, constantly upgrading our courses to meet the high standards required, etc. But there are always fresh hoops to jump through, and our best advice is that the situation will not improve and is more likely to get worse as ‘Brexit becomes Brexit’. We are, of course, appealing the decision to ensure that participants are able to complete their course. But it is clear that even were we to succeed in our appeal it is likely that within six months or a year they will be back with another hoop to jump through.
And it would seem that we are not alone; we believe that something like 500 colleges and universities were issued with a similar letter, sent on 18 January 2017, revoking their license for visas.
It has been extremely difficult, of course, to come to terms with this, but we have come to see that it may be providential and the right time to relocate the Institute in a place that will be more welcoming and will not present the same barriers to visa applications. Hence our decision to look to Rome, at the heart of the universal Church, where our course will be at home, and very much in line with the priorities of Pope Francis. Needless to say, the course will still be offered in English.
This inevitably means there has to be a break in the courses we offer. We are planning to finish in June and to restart in Rome in January 2018.
We hope to begin with the 18 week Certificate Course [January to the end of May].
We then plan to offer the Diploma Course in September 2018
From there we will build up according to needs.
At the moment we don’t plan a Summer Course in Rome as it is too hot, but we remain open to the possibility of such a shorter course being offered elsewhere.
We are currently looking for suitable accommodation, providing full board and lodging, in Rome. As soon as this is found and agreed we will update this website accordingly.
We look forward to a challenging and exciting new era of the Institute of St Anselm in Rome and we ask your prayers for this venture.