What to do when there is a Home Office delay
If your application to any of the routes outlined previously has been delayed, then you can do one of the following.
Contact UKVI to escalate application delays
UKVI offers several routes to contact them and enquire about applications.
For applications made outside of the UK, you can contact UKVI online. Queries cost £2.74. Upon completion of this application form and payment a response will be received from UKVI by way of email within 5 working days. You will not be charged for any follow-up emails about the same enquiry.
For both applications made within the UK and from outside of the UK a complaint can be lodged through this link. This route is free however upon submission of the complaint it takes 28 working days for a response to be received in respect of the application.
Contact your local MP
If you have made an immigration application within the UK and it has been delayed, then an alternative route to escalate this delay would be to contact your local Member of Parliament (MP).
To find out who your local MP is, please head over to this link. Upon selecting your MP based on your location you will be brought to their page on the government where you can find the correct email address to contact them.
If you choose to contact them to express your concern or frustration at the delay in your immigration application, then it is important that you write in a formal manner. Your email or other form of correspondence should include the following:
The reason why you are requesting your MP’s assistance.
What you would like them to do after reading your request.
Facts and evidence which supports your case and shows that you have experienced a Home Office delay.
The above information will assist your local MP to determine the strength of your case and how they can best assist you.
Your MP has the power to raise your case with UKVI which is invaluable because UKVI is obligated to respond. However, UKVI might only tell your MP what stage your case is at or reaffirm that your appeal rights have been exhausted. Therefore, it is important to be very specific with what you request your MP to do i.e. pushing for a decision to be made in the instance of a prolonged delay on your application. It is only through a specific and measured approach that you can increase your chances of getting positive intervention.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman is a body which makes the final decisions on complaints that are yet to be resolved by a government department within the UK. They aim to do this fairly, without biases and freely. However, you can only complain about UK government departments (such as UKVI) if an MP refers the complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman. In summary, a complaint form (found here) must be completed and signed by an MP before being submitted.
You can only make a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman about one of the following:
The government department’s (e.g. UKVI) conduct was unfair.
The service you received was poor.
The negative impact of either the above has not been resolved.
It is then for the Parliamentary Ombudsman to investigate this and determine whether the government department is at fault and have failed to resolve these issues. Ideally, a complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman is submitted as soon as all of the other routes (mentioned previously) have been exhausted. However, as long as a complaint is lodged within the time-limits it will still be valid: this means that a complaint about a UK government department must be made within a year of becoming aware of the problem.
If the Parliamentary Ombudsman agrees with your complaint, they can do one of the following:
Request the government department take action to rectify its error, which could be in the form of either a refund or apology or acknowledging its mistake.
Instruct the government department to revisit the incorrect decision made.
Ask the government department to change their processes in order to prevent them from repeating the same mistake. This step would require the government department to review any policies, guidance, and standards which are in place.
The Parliamentary Ombudsman will also consider legal action where appropriate as they might be of the view that the best solution to your complaint is within the courts. However, this decision will be made considering all factors, such as the likely cost of legal action, the likelihood of a positive outcome and the likely length of court proceedings.
In summary, when dealing with Home Office delays it is first important to assess whether you have in fact experienced a delay. With this information you can then:
Contact UKVI to get an update.
If that fails you can escalate your issue to your local MP.
As a last resort you can lodge a complaint with the Parliamentary Ombudsman providing that your local MP has referred your complaint to the Parliamentary Ombudsman first.
How can Paragon Law help?
Whilst we cannot speed up the processing time of your immigration or UK visa application, we will make the strongest application for you. By making a strong application we can attempt to reduce the processing time of your visa application (not a guarantee). If you have any queries about UKVI processing times, or about an UK visa application then please get in touch with us.