Sanwar Ali on UK Visa Algorithms resulting in discrimination

By Sanwar Ali

According to a report by the Financial Times UK Visa and Immigration at the Home Office is using potentially discriminatory software algorithms to decide on UK visa applications.  The algorithm could lead to racial discrimination and age discrimination.  There have been numerous concerns that the Home Office and those sponsored by the Home Office have been involved in racially discriminatory practices.

UK Visa and Immigration at Home Office and others have covered up Racial Discrimination

The Home Office claims that the algorithms do not discriminate on the basis of race.  However, the Home Office and some of those who are sponsored by the Home Office have a history of covering up racial discrimination, ignoring or claiming that complaints about discrimination have not been received, making untrue remarks to MPs and making false testimony in Court proceedings. A UK visa regulator has been ignoring complaints received more than ten years ago, and have even falsely claimed, despite overwhelming evidence to the contrary, that the complaints have not been received.  On top of all this, they have falsely claimed to an MP that complaints have not been received.

It is a vicious circle of discrimination, bias and corruption.  One person does something immoral and wrong.  The next person covers up for a colleague.  One organisation covers up. Then another organization feels that they need to cover up so as to avoid offending the first organisation.  Too much of the time the Court System is unable or unwilling to help.  If you do complain you can end up suffering from harassment and victimisation.

Chief Inspector of borders and immigration warned against “decision making tool”

In 2017 there were concerns that the software based tool was in effect becoming a decision making tool.  Despite enormous concerns relating to discrimination and no reason whatsoever to believe what the Home Office says, they have failed to provide further details.  Christina Blacklaws the President of the Law Society had the following to say as reported in the Financial Times:

“may well disadvantage certain groups of people based on generic markers such as age, country of origin or whether they have travelled before.”

Ed Davey, home affairs spokesman for the Liberal Democrats, said that speeding up the processing of applications

“must never come at the cost of basic fairness”.

“If decisions are made by ‘black box’ algorithms, it’s impossible for individuals to understand or challenge them properly,” he went onto say.

UK Visa and Immigration and others have lost the trust of the public

The Windrush scandal, lost files by the Home Office, cover ups, allegations of racial discrimination and so on. Secrecy has done more harm than good.  It has been used to cover up dodgy practices and racial discrimination.  Covering up bad behavior is widespread.  Not “rocking the boat”, and not upsetting colleagues, seems to be more important than the interests of the public and ethnic minorities in particular.

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