Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Dealing with the UK Border Agency part 1

In a few months time my wife's visa will run out. We are currently going through the process of a) finding out how re-application goes b) whether or not we want to apply for a new visa. The visa process for the UK is both infuriating and stressful. I fully understand why the procedure has to be thorough but it is labyrinthian in it's complexity. Things are never easy here any more especially as the right wing press have spread fear over immigration numbers and benefit payments so the government has made immigration to the UK even harder.

I've just spent fifteen minutes on hold to the UK Border Agency (not a free phone number obviously) listening to a loop of one Mozart composition. When I finally got through my line was not totally clear but good enough to understand and be understood. I had a list of questions which I wanted to ask and the first words the lady said were, "We're here to answer your questions."

The reason for our questions is that the procedure is almost certainly designed to be just complex enough to put people off. Worded in such a way that clarity is there yet not clear enough to be certain enough of understanding. If there are any errors in the application then flat out you won't get your visa and won't be refunded the £1,000 plus it cost you and you almost certainly won't be told why your application failed.

My line was a bit crackly as I gave the lady I spoke to the name of the visa I was asking about. She asked me what the name of the form for the application was. Of course, my fault I didn't know but as I was supplying the name of the actual visa I thought it would be clear enough. After minutes of going backwards and forwards and restating that the line wasn't crystal clear, the lady put the phone down on me. Thank you very much for nothing UK Border Agency but I will return and get my questions answered. I just never want to hear Eine Kleine Nachtmusik again.

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