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New backlog latest blow to expats waiting for visas and passport

It wouldn’t be completely unfair to presume that it’s a bunch of idiots running the UK Border Agency.

No, in fact, scrap that – idiots probably have more common sense.

Last week it was revealed a backlog of 16,000 immigration requests, some spanning as long as a decade, had been discovered at UKBA.

One explanation was that a few thousand of the files had been “dumped” in boxes, while the others had been passed around offices. 

“I don’t think I should be discovering these backlogs,” John Vine, independent chief inspector of borders and immigration, said.

No, mate, neither do we. While this backlog in particular is for cases of people waiting to see if their partners were allowed to live in the UK, it doesn’t offer much confidence to anyone else in touch with beleaguered UKBA. 

And it raises the question of whether this government agency, which has come under fire countless times in recent years, is fit for purpose.

Based on the horror stories we’ve heard at TNT and that have been posted on the Kiwis In London Facebook page, it’s not.

As well as passports being lost or disappearing for months, others have been forced out of jobs or have been left in limbo, unable to get a straight answer from the UKBA staff when someone does finally bother to pick up the constanly ringing phone.

Kiwi Nick Van Den Borst said: “My advice to anyone dealing with UKBA is to treat them like small children. Post It-note every piece of proof and photocopy everything before sending it out as they are known to lose documents.”

Even some of those who see no choice but to fork out the ridiculous amount of money for the premium same-day service end up waiting for eight hours, and then sometimes more than a week after that for their case to be resolved.

Put simply, this isn’t good enough.

TNT is putting together case studies to take to the UKBA – if you’re one of the many with a horror story, we want to help. Get in touch.

Email carol.driver@tntmultimedia.com

UKBA Balls Up: Lend your voice to TNT - click here to sign our petition in support of UKBA reforms

 

‘Britishness’ Not Proved by History

What is the title given to the person who chairs the debates in the House of Commons?

If you know the answer to that, you’re on your way to becoming a British citizen.

This is one of the many pointless multiple-choice questions which pop up in the new citizenship test for aspiring Brits.

Pointless because knowing the answer to questions such as, ‘In 1801, a new version of the official flag of the UK was created.

What is it often called?’ has little to do with life in the UK today.

Prospective citizens will be tested on the Home Office’s 180-page syllabus on Britishness, which I guarantee contains information most of my British friends wouldn’t know about. 

Even the word ‘Britishness’ stinks of Tory elitism.

How about a test that really reflects life in modern-day Britain, rather than cherry-picking events from our history from a public schoolboy perspective? 

 

Photo: Getty


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Opinion: The UK Border Agency, a shambolic office which isn't fit for purpose
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