Freedom Of Information requests to the UKBA concerning this issue all stated that “All applications are processed in date order”. However we have spoken with one of the owners of the FilipinoUK site (http://www.filipinouk.co.uk) informed us that a high number of applicants who applied May-July 2012 have already received their visa, while those who applied Feb-April 2012 are still waiting. This shows that the UKBA have no idea in what order they process visa applications.
FilipinoUK also pointed out a number of other issues with the UKBA FLR(M) process:
· Payment can now take weeks to go through, so those that do not ensure they have the funds in their account when the UKBA attempt to take payment will have the visa cancelled. They must then reapply, however as that application goes in after their prior visa has elapsed the FLR(M) application is refused on the grounds they are illegal overstayers.
· Some people, who have waited over 8 months, are receiving letters from the UKBA asking for updated financial records. As the records were sent with the initial application it has been mentioned to us by an ex-UKBA employee that this practise is probably illegal, as the visa is supposed to be processed with the information supplied with the initial application. Because of this a number of people have now been refused the visa due to the financial situation of their spouse having changed in all the months waiting, such as losing their job, and having lived in the UK for over a year with their spouse they are then asked to leave the country.
· An increasing number of applicants are finding out from the UKBA after more than 6 months of waiting that their documents have been lost. They then have to gather all these again, and this includes both the applicant and spouse applying for new passports and marriage certificates delaying the process even longer.
· With the UKBA taking so long processing applicants many have passports that either expire with the UKBA or will do shortly after they get them back. This means they then have to renew their passport with their embassy, and then pay the UKBA for the privilege to update the biometrics data with the new passport information, and current processing times are 6 months. People finding themselves in this position will be in the UKBA system on hold with their life for nearly 1 ½ years.
· A high number of these applicants are highly skilled and could have been working if the UKBA had processed the visa in what used to be a 4 week process prior to 2012, thus possibly losing the UK economy £1,000’s per year in potential taxes per applicant.
· One of the worst things is if a family member back in the applicant’s home country passes away. You can ask the UKBA to ‘lend’ you back your own documents so you can leave the country, although this is for a limited time and UKBA’s discretion, you do have an expired visa when you try to re-enter the UK, and by the time the UKBA has posted back you passports it is too late to book a flight in time for the funeral.
Countless more stories of misery and stress have been told on forums such as FilipinoUK, immigrationboards.com, and many other forums dealing with immigration. What makes it worse for these people is the fact that non-English speaking Eastern Europeans can come to the UK when they want and stay as long as they want.
Notes to editors:
Name: Keith Driscoll
Phone: 01745 550380
Address: Win2Win Limited. 8 Bronallt Estate, Groes, Denbigh. LL16 5RT
Company Details: Win2Win has had an online presence since 2000 and became a Limited company in 2006.