The shambolic UK Border Agency is a kick in the teeth for the government.
At a time when the UK credit rating has been downgraded (embarrassing!) and the economy’s struggling to draw breath, encouraging spending and employment should be a priority.
What TNT has discovered since launching our UKBA Balls-Up campaign a few weeks ago, is that the truth is surprisingly the opposite. The horror stories keep flooding in.
I’ve spoken to readers who have lost passports while on a two-year visa and have waited eight months to get it back – meaning they can’t leave the country and have to miss out on the main reason they are here: to travel.
I’ve heard from someone who couldn’t go home to be with his father who was battling cancer because the UKBA kept his passport for so long. I’ve exchanged emails with a woman who missed her grandmother’s funeral for the same reason.
And the main gripe running through all the complaints we’ve received is the lack of communication from UKBA, how they won’t speak to you on the phone until your application is six months old.
The majority of our readers are between the ages of 20 and 35, and they’re mainly Australians, Kiwis and South Africans – importantly, being from these countries means none has the right to claim benefits while in the UK, so they don’t drain the system.
Our readers come to London to work, to travel, to spend money – perhaps to find a decent career, start a business, get married or buy a house.
What the inefficient UK Border Agency does is make this a nightmare experience when it comes to extending a visa in the UK.
It’s surprising, given some of the horror stories, that more people don’t just give up and head home – although those who have opted for that have found their passports still hooked in a system where it seems no one really knows what’s going on.
As an Aussie woman said to me at the TNT Travel Show: “If the Brits start knocking their own system, you know things are bad.” And things are bad indeed. Get involved.
Send your UKBA story to firstname.lastname@example.org
Let porn watcher be a lesson to us
He really should have known better.
If you’re ever tempted to click on to an adult entertainment website when you think the office is empty, let this guy’s story be a lesson to you.
After everyone had gone home, the randy suit thought he’d opt for a little light relief by pouring over X-rated material online – as you can just about make out from the grainy Twitter photo above.
However, the lonesome worker may have checked there was no one left in his Brisbane office – but he didn’t look out the window to find out whether he was being watched. And he was.
Two minutes later, Twitter user James P had posted the above pic, which went viral along with the comment: “He’s been doing it for ages.”
The frisky voyeur soon got the message when he spied the group in the opposite office who gave him a round of applause. Perhaps not the climax he was after. His wife will be so proud.