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Just days after launching our TNT UKBA Balls-Up campaign, we’ve had more than 400 signatures and we’ve been inundated with horror stories.

More tales of misinformation being handed out to applicants, or, equally as bad, no information being given, so people are left in the dark about their visas and passports. Weddings have been missed, travel plans put on hold and jobs nearly lost (see Courtney Sherwell’s story, below). In the same week as we uncovered a catalogue of incompetency, UKBA announced it was increasing its visa fees – rubbing salt in the wound for many (for a full list of the rises visit click here).   

To sign TNT's petition click here

We demanded a response from the Home Office. Mark Harper, minister for immigration, said the increases were “mostly” in line with inflation. “We believe it is right that those who use and benefit from the immigration system should contribute more than the UK taxpayer.”

We don’t disagree. But what we do disagree with is tourists and travellers coming to the UK to travel, to work, to spend money, and to boost the economy having to pay even more money for a second-rate service.

And that’s why we’re campaigning – see our list of demands on the petition to the right. We need your support to make these changes. Sign our petition today, send it to your friends, your family – anyone who has come into contact with UKBA or is planning on doing so. Let’s stop them being able to force people visiting the UK to put their lives on hold. 

Courtney Sherwell: ‘An eight-month nightmare’

Courtney Sherwell almost lost her job and missed out on a trip home to Australia to see her unwell elderly grandparents due to UKBA incompetence. The 28-year-old has been living and working in London on an ancestry visa since 2007. In July 2012, she applied to extend her visa, paying £561.

The HR department at the hospital where she worked asked for monthly updates as her visa had expired. “But as per the UKBA guidelines, while a visa application is in process, I could continue to act on the current conditions of my old passport, so I wasn’t too worried,” she says. 

Fast-forward to December: Sherwell had to cancel a planned trip to Australia to see her family. And she had to tell her HR rep she still hadn’t heard from UKBA. “I was told as I had not heard anything further, and had not enrolled biometric data, it ‘was not good news’,” she explains. “They were doing their job and the right thing by the rules.


UKBA Balls Up: Readers reveal UK Border Agency visa horror stories
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