Friday, July 22, 2016

the oft discussed examiner's scanned passport over email... one more time!

Simply DO NOT send your scanned passports to anybody over email.
This has nothing to do with adherence to legislation; this is moronic,
borderline criminal, practice that very careless people in University
HR departments encourage.

This is today's response to one of them... second in two days
(although yesterday's response was not so polite, due to the heat!)

please feel free to share, quote, or disregard!



Dear Jane Doe [obvious alias here],
I am happy to accept.

I am also happy to provide evidence about my eligibility to work in
the UK (despite the fact that your are approaching me in order to act
as **internal** examiner, as full time employee of UCL, a college of
the University of London, a sibling institution to Yours -- but I will
not play this oft discussed on social media card!)

May I also raise the minor issue that I do not wish to be **employed**
by your institution; I am only willing to act as **examiner** of one
of your students. I have examined doctoral theses all over the world
without the need to obtain a working permit or visa for that purpose.
I therefore think that your HR department needs to rehearse a
different notion, other than employment, for academics that offer this
type of service to their field, and research in general. This is also
supported by the fact that a 'salary' of £150 would be highly
inappropriate, for something that requires anything between 60 and 100
hours of a senior academic's time, in focused reading, editing, and

I will certainly not send you a scanned copy of my passport through an
unsecure channel of communication such as email. I have to report that
I find it shocking that during these times of heightened security, a
prestigious institution that is part of the University of London, with
a world leading department in computer science and digital
technologies, is conducting this type of practice. Sadly, this is
performed by many an HR department all over the U.K.
I have a responsibility, as chartered Fellow of the British Computer
society to object to this malpractice.

I am happy to produce my passport in person, and should you need to
keep a photocopy of the photo pages, the Head of Your Department will
have to sign a disclosure, wherein your data protection measures of
archived paper material will be clearly outlined. I will counter-sign
this, reserving my legal right to act accordingly, in case of your
failure to protect this document. In case you require to keep a
digital copy of the passport, this will have to be watermarked, so
that, in case of a breach of security, responsibility can be
taken/assigned accordingly.

I hope that this is clear and apologise for the mild inconvenience.
But this is exactly what this is about, the convenience of HR
departments' employees, cleverly disguised as adherence to
legislation; I find this to be unacceptable and potentially dangerous

Do let me know how you wish to proceed upon consultation with your Head of HR.

Also, please keep in mind, that I do not wish to cause any
inconvenience to the student and their supervisor; I am therefore
willing to examine the thesis gratis, if that would help not having to
deal with adopting this pseudo-employment paradigm. A donation of £150
from your institution to a charity of your choice would be appreciated
in this case.

with all best wishes,

Dr Evangelos Himonides FBCS CITP
Reader in Technology, Education and Music
University College London

On 22 July 2016 at 11:21, [Shared] Council Researchdegrees
<> wrote:

> Dear Dr Himonides,
> I am writing to ask if you would be willing to act as the internal examiner
> for the following candidate:
> Candidate: Virginia Wolf [obvious alias here as well]
> Thesis title: a multimodal framework for mapping HEI HR department madness [made up title, obviously]
> Degree for which entered: PhD
> Supervisor: Dr Super Visor
> Expected date of thesis submission: 1st August 2016
> Examiners are required to read and write a preliminary report on the thesis,
> and together with their co-examiner to conduct an oral examination and write
> a subsequent joint report. Examiners are paid a fee of £150 plus expenses.
> Further details on the examination process will be sent out with the thesis.
> Dr Ex Ternal of the Pokemon Go University [it's hopefully now obvious that these are aliases] has been invited to act as the external examiner in this case.
> I would be grateful if you could confirm whether or not you are able to
> accept this invitation to act (confirmation by email is fine). Before
> responding to this invitation, please read the information below on
> eligibility to work in the UK. Regretfully, is unable to appoint examiners who cannot provide evidence of eligibility to work in the UK.
> Travel and expenses claims
> Information about the maximum rates for travel and expenses claims that will
> be reimbursed by is at
> Section 9 is about travel and subsistence.
> The rates for meals are
> Breakfast £7.00
> Lunch £10.00
> Evening Meal £20.00
> For all expenses claims original receipts must be provided. If you pay by
> contactless card methods please request a tax receipt. In line with HMRC
> guidance is unable to reimburse claims without original receipts and photocopies cannot be accepted. For travel in London using an Oyster Card, if the card is registered with Transport for London an e-receipt for travel
> can be obtained. Train travel is re-imbursed at standard rates only. Please
> submit claims within 3 months of the date of expenditure.
> Proof of eligibility to work in the UK
> In order to comply with Right to Work checks required by the UK Home Office
> all examiners are asked to provide proof of their eligibility to work in the
> UK including those who are British or European Economic Area (EEA)
> nationals.
> The initial check must be done before the examination, even if you have
> worked for us before. In accepting this invitation to examination, please
> would you send me by email a scanned copy of your passport photo/information
> page and any relevant visa you may currently hold.
> If you do not hold a passport issued by a member state of the European
> Economic Area and you live and work outside the UK, you will need to enter
> the UK through the Permitted Paid Engagements route. For some non-EEA
> nationals (those classified as 'visa nationals' by the Home Office) this
> will mean that you will require a visa to enter and work in the UK and you
> must obtain this before you travel to the UK.
> For other non-EEA nationals (those classified as 'non-visa nationals' by the
> Home Office) you will not require a visa to enter via the Permitted Paid
> Engagements route provided you are coming to the UK for less than 6 months.
> You must however declare that you are entering via this route at the UK
> border check. Please bring your letter of invitation from to act as an examiner to show at the border check.
> To check if you need a visa please see
> Information about the Permitted Paid Engagement visa is at
> Please do not hesitate to contact me with any queries at any point.
> Yours sincerely,
> Jane Doe