Over the weekend, it was reported that a South African national may miss his chance to say goodbye to his 92 year, Second World War veteran grandfather, after delays to his UK visa application. In March 2014 the UK Home Office struck up a five year, £300 million contract with ‘Teleperformance’ to conduct the visa processing services in 74 countries. Since the implementation of the deal there has been a number of complaints against Teleperformance in relation to their poor customer service.
South African National Unable to Say Goodbye to World War Veteran
Anthony Eldridge is a ‘decorated Second World War veteran’ currently battling cancer and being treated at his home in Watford. Mr Eldridge’s is surrounded by family as they have been told that his condition is worsening and do not expect that he has very long to live. The only person missing from Mr Eldridge’s bedside is his grandson Brendan Currie. Brendan is a South African national who currently resides in Norway and submitted his online application on 5 April 2015. Due to the seriousness of his grandfather’s condition Brendan decided to pay extra for Teleperformance’s “priority” service which under certain circumstances guarantees visa applications to be processed within 5 working days. However, according to the Home Office website the next available appointment for Brendan to submit his biometric’s information is this week. Understandably, Brendan fears that this delay may result in him missing a chance to say good bye to his grandfather. Brendan has tried to contact Teleperformance directly with no success:
“There are certain times when people need an avenue to say, ‘Listen guys, I need help here. I need to go say goodbye to my grandfather. It’s not a ruined holiday that we’re dealing with here. It’s my last chance to say goodbye.”
Brendan is still awaiting a resolution to his visa application and it is yet to be seen whether he gets a chance to say goodbye to his grandfather. The lack of concern and compassion for individual cases is still astonishing to us. Teleperformance has had a high volume of complaints against the visa services they provide. The UK Home Office are said to be collating data of the complaints but did not go into specifics as what they are going to do with the data.
Teleperformance has Created “Chaos and Humiliation”
Our expert Immigration Solicitors have submitted visa applications where clients are required to register with the Teleperformance website. Before the completion of an online application a notice pops up to instruct you to register and create an account with Teleperformance. It is made clear that the reasoning for this is to avoid any delay in the visa application process. Therefore, it is confusing that the number of complaints against the company is down to the visa processing times and unavailability of staff members to answer queries.
The Independent have published a number of complaints against the company and it is yet to be seen as whether this will lead to change. For instance the Belarus Digest website stated that Teleperformance had created “chaos and humiliation”. Furthemore, applicants are said to have had to wait up to two months, compared to between two and ten days under the previous UK visa system. The website went onto further state, “If the UK wants to sustain its good image it needs to change its current humiliating treatment of applicants”. The delays are even more baffling when it has been revealed that Teleperformance are not part of the decision as to whether or not a visa should be granted. The company is responsible for obtaining the biometric information from applicants to submit with their visa application.
We hope for the sake of our immigration clients and future immigration clients that this matter will be resolved as we understand the sensitivity and stress that some of these immigration cases involve.
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