Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency publishes report on New York visa section

Managers and staff demonstrated a strong customer service ethos and the quality of their decision-making was generally fair, said John Vine CBE QPM, the Independent Chief Inspector of the UK Border Agency, publishing his inspection report of the Agency’s New York Visa Section.

The inspection took place between January and March 2011, and focused on the Agency’s handling of three visa categories: Family Visitor, Other Visitor and Settlement.  

At the time of inspection, the Chief Inspector was pleased to find that:

  • the New York Visa Section’s high levels of customer care were demonstrated by their recent success in being awarded accreditation in the government’s Customer Service Excellence standard;
  • staff took responsibility for the safe handling of the significant volumes of personal data in their care;
  • the quality of decision-making in New York was generally fair; and
  • good progress had been made in implementing recommendations from his previous inspection reports.

 However, the Chief Inspector was concerned to find that:

  • in some circumstances, applicants were refused entry clearance for failing to provide information which they could not have been aware of at the time of submitting their applications; and
  • there was a high percentage of cases where the original decision was overturned before cases were allowed to proceed to appeal.

 John Vine said:

“The New York Visa Section is a major visa-issuing post in the Americas region and will process approximately 93,000 applications by the end of 2011.

“I was impressed with the strong customer service ethos exhibited by managers and staff in New York. This was demonstrated by their recent success in being awarded accreditation in the government’s Customer Service Excellence standard, for which I offer my congratulations.

“I found the quality of decision-making in New York was generally fair, and indeed higher than in some other posts I have inspected. However I found that the Visa Section was, in some circumstances, refusing applicants entry clearance for failing to provide information which they could not have been aware of at the time of submitting their applications.

“Finally, I was reassured to find that, although there was some room for improvement, good progress had been made in New York in implementing some of the recommendations I have made in previous reports.”

Download the full report as a pdf here:

An inspection of the UK Border Agency Visa Section in New York

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