a letter of complaint
I understand that the UKBA is under a lot of pressure this year due to the Olympics and the rush of applications made before the immigration changes that took place in April. However, I am appalled at how vague and sketchy things work in your office.
I applied for a TOC due to a stolen passport in April. There were no processing times available for TOC applications. According to your website, 75% of other visa application would be solved within 4 weeks. With that information, I went ahead to submit my application as a postal application although I needed to travel in July. I thought my case would be fairly straight forward as it is just for replacing a stolen visa and shouldn't take more than a week. I am a medical student, I've been here since 2010, I don't work so there is no way I can be breaking the 20 hour work limit law and my initial visa application was processed extremely fast, where I received my passport and my visa within a week, showing that my case is straight forward. No dependants with me, my bank record would show I'm always in credit and I would have a clean criminal record, having cleared a CRB check done by the medical school.
After 4 weeks and still no news, I called up the UKBA and after being on hold for 30 mins, a lady answered my call who was quite sympathetic to my situation. She said the statistic of 75% completion within 4 weeks is after doing the biometrics and when I called, my case wasn't even on the system. I wanted to withdraw my application then but my biometric letter arrived when I made up my mind and I thought there should be time for the passport to arrive.
It has been 3 weeks now and I called the UKBA again. This time, the woman I spoke to gave me vague answers about how they don't have any information available to them and when I asked her about the 75% of cases being completed within 4 weeks, she dismissed it and said all postal applications would take between 4 to 14 weeks. She also said that case workers now no longer entertain any request for applications to be expedited by any means.
So, my major complains are:
1) How can replacing a stolen visa take so long? Is there no separate case workers for TOC applications or do all visa applications just get lumped into one and is dealt with as a first come first serve basis?
2) Why is it that people answering the phones keep giving different figures? Processing times may mean nothing to them but mean everything to us and influences our decisions. I hope better training is given to these people so at least they can give coherent answers.
3) Why is the application process so vague? Nothing is said about what is actually done to your application once it is received. Does it involve looking at criminal/travelling records? What other checks are done? What happens after the checks are done? How long does each step take? Just a simple explanation would be more reassuring than not knowing at all. It's like we've all sent our passports to the deep abyss where you just have to wait patiently without any official form of identification as a foreigner in the UK and be at the mercy of the case workers when they would like to send our passports back.
4) No way of expediting applications at all? You got to be kidding me. There's a long list of reasons listed on the UKBA website on grounds for expediting applications if you search hard enough. Get your workers to get the facts right.
4) I don't understand this one at all. Why is it the visa application centres overseas are more efficient (and cheaper?) than the ones in the UK? Is it because the workers here just get paid more?