In The Work Of The UK Border Agency (July-September 2012 Q3), the Home Affairs Committee found an “unacceptable” amount of in-country visa applications failed to be completed on target.

It comes just weeks after TNT launched a petition demanding improvements to visa services – to sign the petition, click here

It reported:“The Agency’s premium service is designed to enable users to have their applications for Further Leave to Remain processed within 24 hours.

“In Q3 2012 the Agency processed only 73% of Tier 1 and 72% of Tier 2 FLTR applications within the 24 hour target time.

“It processed 73% and 75% of Tier 4 and 5 visas on time. This is an unacceptable performance considering that the Agency is charging main applicants between £661 and £1,800 for premium applications.

“In Tier 2, where a premium application costs £306 more than the postal route, the Agency processed more postal applications on time than premium applications, this is unacceptable.”

Carol Driver, group editor at TNT Multimedia, said: “The UKBA is missing a trick. Processing more premium service applications means more money, more people able to work, travel and spend freely within the UK. 

“This report not only sends out the message that Britain is closed for business, but also that the grand reopening isn’t anytime soon.

She added: “This damning report further highlights the incompetency at the shambolic UKBA. 

“In-country visa applicants have to surrender their passports – sometimes for up to a year – and the UKBA refuses to speak to applicants until their case has been in the system for at least six months. 

“It’s unacceptable that people who want to work and travel in the UK and boost the economy – who have no rights to claim benefits – aren’t able to due to UKBA inefficiency.  

“I have spoken with people who have missed travelling home to see unwell loved ones, missed weddings, had to put jobs on hold and had to cancel expensive holidays due to delays at UKBA and misinformation from its advisers.

“Lives are being put on hold because the UKBA is so incompetent – which is woefully unacceptable.

“I would urge everyone to sign our petition so we can take this shambolic office to task.”

Read more about TNT’s campaign here