Independent Chief Inspector publishes report on UK Border Agency’s visa sections in Chennai and Colombo

A report published today by the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) found that the UKBA Visa Section in Chennai applied a local interpretation to the way it classified visa applications, effectively allowing it additional processing time and making it difficult for the Agency to monitor its performance.

  • The report “Inspection Report of the Visa Section in Chennai” reviewed UKBA processes and procedures including; the quality of decision-making and consistency of approach, customer service, management and leadership, and the effect of the UKBA’s Hub and Spoke model, assessing both the hub of Chennai and the spoke of Colombo.
  • Independent Chief Inspector, John Vine CBE QPM, said: “This inspection was much more comprehensive in scope than my previous overseas inspections. I sampled cases where visas had been granted and found that all had been issued correctly. However I also found that there were significant delays in dealing with administrative reviews of points-based applications. This has a particular impact in Chennai and Colombo, where many of the customers are students who have a relatively short period of time to take up their place of study in the United Kingdom.”
  • He added: “I found that the Chennai Visa Section had applied a local interpretation to the way it classified visa applications against the UKBA’s Customer Service Standards, in effect allowing it more time to process visa applications. I believe this type of activity is unacceptable because it misinforms customers about what they should expect when they pay for a visa application and makes it difficult, if not impossible, for the UKBA to monitor its performance against its Customer Service Standards. We made a similar finding in Abuja last year, so it was disappointing to find this happening at another Visa Section four months later.”
  • In Chennai, the inspection team sampled 200 randomly selected files, drawn from a list of decisions made since 1 March 2009. The files were examined to assess the quality of decision making and whether correct procedures were used to reach balanced decisions.

Downloaded  the report in full as a PDF here:

Alternatively, the full inspection report on the Visa Sections in Chennai and Colombo can be viewed alongside previous inspection reports

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