finance

A Home Office visa blunder is breaking my heart


I fear I will never be able to see my family again because of Home Office blunders. I applied for a spouse visa in July 2020. I didn’t receive a decision, but in January it emailed to say it had recently sent me a biometric residence permit (it hadn’t) with the wrong expiry date, and asked me to return it. I’ve since tried to establish whether they have mixed my file up with someone else’s and what my status is. The Home Office hasn’t responded to my formal complaint within the requisite 20-day window, or to my MP’s intervention. It’s been more than 18 months since I last saw my family in Canada and the US, and three of my relatives are seriously ill. I have plans for a reunion in July, but the likelihood of that is dwindling, and my heart breaks a little more every day.
SH, London

Visa delays are among the most distressing complaints in my inbox, and they are proliferating. Most are from applicants who have been waiting up to 18 months for a decision. Your case stands out because there’s clearly been an error, and the Home Office doesn’t appear to be interested in addressing it.

It tells me that, in January 2021, it “identified that an incorrect amount of leave to remain had been issued on the biometric residence permit due to an administrative error. We apologised for the inconvenience caused, and have been liaising with her about the issue.”

Four days after I made contact, you were emailed a letter confirming your leave to remain, which the Home Office says was posted in October 2020. Like the original permit, you never received it. A new permit followed the same week, again issued with the wrong dates, but at least it reached you – and this time the Home Office told you that you can keep it until it sends a corrected replacement.

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