UK Visa Applications not Decided Quickly Enough

Latest figures released by the UK Coalition Government show very poor performance for the year 2012 – 2013 in the processing of visa applications within published Service Standards.

The UK Border Agency (UKBA) only managed to process 51% of work-based visas within the four week Service Standard for postal applications.

UKBA could only process 25% of UK student visa applications within Service Standards over the same time period.

UKBA’s target was to process 65% work-based and 85% student visa applications within four weeks.

The latest figures show a decline on performance for the period 2011 – 2012 when authorities dealt with 81% of work-based and 85% of student visa applications within published service standards. There has been no public explanation for this poor performance.

Further, the total number of visa applications were roughly similar for both periods so there clearly was no added pressure on the service. During this time of poor performance, senior UKBA managers spent much time reassuring UK Ministers that UKBA performance was improving.

These data seem to fit Thersa May’s decision to disband UKBA as “not fit for purpose.”

UKBA processed UK visa applications from 2008 until March 2013. It was established by the then Labour government as an independent agency, hoping that it could run more efficiently without constant ministerial interference.

UKBA was founded primarily because the former immigration authority, the Immigration Directorate, was large incompetent. There was a hidden backlog of 450,000 asylum cases, discovered in 2006.

However, the UKBA has never managed to deal with the problems it inherited and, at the time it was abolished, there was still a backlog of over 310,000 cases waiting to be decided.

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