Blog DOB: 22 Aug, 2006
Name: Mark O'Connor
Me in the Antarctic
Really Annoying Sh##
This is my blog where I can dump all the sh## that really annoys me. It stays here, I can get on and enjoy myself. It's like therapy, and you can join too for free. Just add yourself as a blogger and get rid of all your sh##.
Following my blog on UK Visas toward the end of August I decided to complain to my local MP who agreed to contact UK Visas on my behalf (hooray). I still find it all too astonishing that a UK company could invite someone to the UK for a business meeting, providing full sponsorship and accommodation, and have them refused admission. It's even more disconcerting to think that this person, a Thai national, was already in the EC, actually in Dublin, so had been cleared by the Irish Embassy in Bangkok for entry into an EC country.
She had only planned to visit Ireland. She had not applied for a UK or a Schengen visa before she left (a Schengen visa allows entry to all EC countries in the Schengen zone).
She had a return ticket to Bangkok. The invitation she had from the UK company was out of the blue (not uncommon in business). You would think, having full sponsorship from a UK company, already being in the EC and having an onward ticket home would be sufficient support for a UK Visa application. But it wasn't, instead she was refused admission and the embarrassed company, had, ultimately to fly a representative to Bangkok to hold the meeting later in the month (hooray from the rep, boo from finance).
UK Visas claim to "issue visas to 80% of those who apply, and stop only those who are a significant immigration risk to the UK". I failed to comprehend, in the circumstances, how she could have been regarded as a significant risk. I had to complain, I couldn't understand the decision. It was so clearly wrong. I wanted to understand it.
The response from UK Visas shouldn't really have surprised me. I dug it out again this week to reread after learning 150 illegal immigrants were to be released on bail. I guess these 150 are set to join the estimated half a million immigrants working illegally in the UK at a cost of some £3.3Billion in unpaid taxes.
When a company receives a complaint it's an incredible opportunity to learn about their services and how they can improve them, because most people don't complain, they walk. This wasn't the spirit in which my complaint was read, perhaps because, with Public Services, you can't really walk, as there isn't an alternative. There's a lack of competition which might make it matter.
The Entry Clearance Manager (ECM) "would like to note that he reviews all refusals, and was satisfied that the decision was made in accordance with the Immigration Rules. The decision of refusal is therefore upheld" (high 5, we're in the clear).
He then adds, notwithstanding that the applicant is now happily back at home (beep goes the Tuc Tuc) for several months and has no reason to visit the UK, she is "welcome to submit a new application at any time, which will be judged on its individual merits and in accordance with the Immigration Rules".
Is there really any point in complaining to a Public Body about its service?