Growing Concern Over Home Office Delays and Its Failure to Comply With Its Own Deadlines and Promises

Unfortunately, it is not uncommon for Applicants to experience severe Home Office delays on their UK Visa and Immigration applications. The Home Office is currently experiencing a large back log of cases and is struggling to meet their standard processing times for UK Visa and Immigration applications. In addition to this, the Home Office is failing to provide adequate responses to queries on the status of pending UK Visa and Immigration applications. 

Home Office Delays on UK Visas and Immigration Applications

Applicants often receive an acknowledgement that their UK Visa and Immigration application is being processed but then do not hear from the Home Office for several months and in some exceptional cases years. Recent reports suggest that the ombudsman had upheld seven of every ten complaints it received, with poor decision making and excessive Home Office delays being the common problem. It is apparent that the Home Office is struggling to keep up with the number of UK Visa and Immigration application it receives.

As a result of unexpected and disproportionate delays, Applicants are being left in difficult waters as they are losing out on valuable employment and education opportunities. A prime example of where unexpected Home Office delays had resulted in someone missing out on a dream job, is the case of Ukrainian born Iryna O’Reilly. Iryna had lived in the UK for 16 years and qualified as a Solicitor in the UK and married her partner in September 2016. Iryna had received a conditional job offer in the UK from a law firm in the UK. She applied for a UK Spouse visa in October 2016 but the Home Office failed to make a decision within their suggested eight week time frame. Iryna had chased the Home Office for a decision but they failed to provide an adequate response. Iryna was unable to start work due to her visa not being granted and eventually missed out on her dream job. This is just one of many examples where Home Office delays had resulted in dire consequences for UKVI Applicants.

The Home Office delays have recently been criticised by Parliamentary and Health Service Ombudsman Julie Mellor, who has sympathised with the victims of the Home Office delays stating;

“Too many people’s lives have been put on hold for years by the Home Office because of delays and poor decisions. “We have seen far too many cases where people have been separated from their loved ones, unable to work and where their children have been denied access to education. “It is the responsibility of every board of every UK government department and agency to recognise the profound impact poor services can have on people’s lives and make sure they learn from complaints to improve services for all.”

In response to the criticism, the Home Office has responded, stating that they are actively working through the backlog of cases and are trying to process applications efficiently. However, it is clear the Home Office needs to revamp its method of processing and deciding applications.

What to Do If Your UK Visa and Immigration Application is Delayed

There are limited actions that can be taken against the UKVI where the Home Office fails to process an application or fails to provide a decision on a UK Visa and Immigration application in accordance with its standard processing times. Whilst there is an application status tracking service available which allows Applicants to check the status of their applications. We often get informed by our clients that this Visa Application status tracking tool to be defective and unresponsive.

The Home Office can be contacted via phone email and but they have recently changed its procedure and have started to charge for their time. The Home Office now charge £1.37 for every call and £5.48 for emails.

As a last resort Applicants can write to their local MP’s to inquire about why their application is being delayed as well to report a Home Office failure in providing adequate responses to queries.  Whilst this is an option available for Applicants, there is no obligation for the Home Office to respond to an MP letter, therefore, it may be best to obtain legal assistance in chasing Home Office for decisions.

It has become clear that there is a fundamental problem with the way the Home Office processes its Applications as it often leaves Applicants without decisions and fails to respond adequately to concerned Applicants, often failing to provide a simple update on the status of a pending application.

Overcoming Home Office Delays and Your Immigration Status

One way of overcoming Home Office delays is by using a User Pay service such as a Priority Visa Service. Applicants who opt for the Priority Visa Service would have their applications placed ahead of the queue at the Decision Making Centre and have their applications given priority over the standard applications. There is an additional fee involved for the Priority Visa Service but this service cannot be used by all Applicants and legal advice should be obtained before applying for the Priority Visa Service. It is important to note that the Priority Visa Service does not guarantee that an application will be successful and in some cases, decisions can be delayed.

If you have a UK visas and Immigration application pending and you had submitted the application within the 14 day grace period and had valid leave then you will not be considered as someone with no immigration status in the UK. You will still have a right to work and access social benefits while you wait for a decision.

Using Legal Representation to Submit a UK Visa and Immigration Application

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit a UK Visa and Immigration application.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful UK Visa and Immigration Applications

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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