Report claims UK immigration unfairly rejecting visa applicants

A recently released independent report claims that UK Border Agency staff processing visa applications from Africa had been "acting unfairly" and were wrongly refusing people entry to the UK.

The reported carried out by John Vine, Chief inspector to the UKBA, claimed that many visas were unfairly rejected after employees "disregarded or misinterpreted" evidence. According to Vine, some UK visa applicants had been refused entry for not failing to provide information that had not been originally requested.

The UKBA responded to the report saying they took the findings "seriously" and would look into it.

The report detailed Vine's inspection from May 2011 to July 2011 and examined the applications processed at four UKBA visa centres in South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Croydon, south London.

Various reasons for visa rejections were cited in the report, including one case, where an applicant wishing to visit his uncle in the UK was denied entry because they had different family names.

Vine said there has been little progress made by the UKBA despite recommendations made in previous inspections.

"This is especially frustrating", he said, "considering the agency has accepted the recommendations, and yet I continue to identify the same issues. I would now like to see these recommendations being embraced by the agency without delay to ensure that there is a real improvement in the quality and consistency of decision making."

"We take the independent chief inspector's findings seriously and are making reforms, which include providing detailed guidance to applicants and improving the training for staff handling visa applications," a UKBA spokesman said. "The UKBA must offer a high quality service for genuine applicants while ensuring that those who do not meet the immigration rules are prevented from entering the UK."

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