Home Office in a 'constant state of crisis over asylum applications'

Posted On: 
26th December 2017

Home Office staff behind asylum applications are working in a “constant state of crisis” while certain bids are often shelved for profit, two whistleblowers have reportedly claimed.

Two whistleblowers have told the Guardian that the department is "undertrained and overworked"
Credit: 
PA Images

Internal pressures in the department are said to be forcing long waits for applicants to have their case dealt with while the “shocking increase in complaints” and MP enquiries are often dismissed by bosses with orders to “just give standard lines”.

One of the whistleblowers from the UK Visa and Immigration Unit (UKVI) told the Guardian that caseworkers have even been ordered to kick applications for spousal visas “into the long grass” and instead process student visas, which are more lucrative for the directorate.

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They say that visa applications are often labelled “complex” or ”non-straightforward” by staff, thereby allowing for delayed processing times, but which they add is “just a euphemism for ‘there’s more profitable stuff we could be doing’”.

The source adds that mistakes are routinely made in the handling of cases as a result of the targets set by the department to deal with a certain number each day.

“Caseworkers don’t have time to request more documents if something is missing or if more information is needed,” they said.

“Sometimes they don’t even have time to read the applications properly.”

The second source, working in the Family and Human Rights Unit, said often junior administrators are given “complex” cases which should be carried out by managers.

And they added that there is an 18-month delay on FHRU cases, “because they are not subject to a service standard”.

The Home Office has disputed the claims of both whistleblowers.

On the UKVI allegations, a spokesperson said: “Each application is dealt with on its individual merits. Standard overseas visa applications are prioritised on the facts of the case and not based on profit.”

On the FRHU allegations, a spokesperson said: “We do not recognise these claims. We have dedicated and hardworking staff who are prepared to go the extra mile to provide a high level of service with what are often complex applications.

“Their individual workload is appropriate and dependant on their seniority and experience.”