The Chief Inspector of UKBA has today published critical reports of the entry clearance operations at Amman in Jordan and Istanbul in Turkey. Click here for press release, here for the report on Amman and here for the report on Istanbul.
In Amman, 55% of all cases were found to be failing one or more decision making quality indicators, applicants were found to be refused on the basis of failing to provide evidence they were not asked for and were given no opportunity to provide, documents were declared to be false when in fact they were genuine, supporting documents were not retained on case files and the case notes by ECOs were basically indecipherable, making it impossible on a review to understand why a visa had been granted or refused. John Vine is quoted as saying
‘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.’
It is difficult to imagine anything much more damning than that. It is clear that the operation is Amman is indefensible. I have to say that I was quite surprised by this as Amman is low down my personal list of appalling entry clearance posts. This perhaps says a lot about the others.
In Istanbul key evidence was found to be overlooked by the ECO in around 25% of all cases, around 33% of cases were refused on the basis of evidence that was not requested of applicants, Entry Clearance Manager reviews were, not to put too fine a point on it, found to be worthless, and supporting documents were not retained on case files, making it very difficult to review cases (and causing all sorts of problems in the event of an appeal, it might be added). There was also some positive news about the Istanbul operation, but it was mainly around improvement processes that might hopefully in future lead to better quality decision making, as opposed to good news in the here and now.
These reports add to other previous critical reports of UK entry clearance operations abroad. Themes emerging from the growing body of OCIUKBA reports include refusal on the basis of evidence that was not requested, poor quality decision making both in granting and refusing visas, poor quality ECM reviews and lack of concern over appeals against these decisions being allowed.
People are paying a LOT of money to have their cases treated in a cavalier and frankly disrespectful way by ECOs, they are getting very poor decisions and, under current proposals, a further fee will have to be paid to get the decision overturned, as well as all the legal fees, with no possibility of having costs awarded against the Entry Clearance Post responsible.