The UK Border Agency needs to make significant improvements to the Amman visa section in order to deliver a fair, effective and efficient entry clearance operation, said John Vine CBE QPM, the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, publishing his inspection report of the Amman visa section in Jordan.
The inspection took place between August and October 2010 and focused primarily on the UK Border Agency’s handling of three separate visa categories: family visitor, other visitor and settlement.
At the time of inspection, the Chief Inspector was concerned to find:
- significant issues with the quality and consistency of decision making, with 55% of all case files reviewed failing one or more decision making quality indicators;
- applicants were refused visas for failing to provide evidence which was not requested by the Agency at the time they made their applications and which they were then given no opportunity to provide;
- applications were incorrectly refused on the assumption that documents were false, when in fact they were genuine; and
- a failure to retain relevant supporting documents and case working notes made it almost impossible to understand some of the reasons for staff decisions to issue or refuse applications.
However, the Chief Inspector was pleased to see that:
- there was good evidence of effective joint working with stakeholders, all of whom spoke positively of their relationship with the Amman visa section; and
- staff were involved in determining their daily targets.
John Vine, Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, said:
“Entry clearance decision making should be consistent and fair. The UK Border Agency has a responsibility to clearly set out what is expected of applicants before they apply. During my inspection, I found that the Agency’s guidance was unclear and the visa section was also applying additional evidential requirements which applicants were not notified about in advance and so could not meet. This practice is unacceptable and could potentially leave the Agency open to allegations of procedural unfairness.
“My case file review identified serious concerns about the quality, consistency and fairness of decision making across all categories of visa applications considered in Amman. Additionally, I found it almost impossible to understand some of the reasons for Entry Clearance Officers’ decisions to issue or refuse applications.
“I expect the UK Border Agency to make significant improvements to the Amman visa section in order to deliver a fair, effective and efficient entry clearance operation.”
Download the full report as a pdf here: