16 May 2012

UKBA warns that UK visa system could crash again

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The head of the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has warned that the IT system which crashed earlier this month and led to the cancellation of 500 UK visa appointments could happen again.

UK immigration

UKBA chief Rob Whiteman has warned that the UK visa processing system is liable to fail again.

Rob Whiteman said the error, a network error which caused the cancellation of 500 UK visa appointments, were still at risk of failing and that the error may be not be easy to fix.

Mr Whiteman said UKBA's IT facilities were 'prone to falling over' and the issue is 'a constant frustration' to UK immigration staff.

The original error, reportedly due to a surge in visa applications, resulted in hundreds of people being turned away from UKBA's main processing office after being advised to reapply.

Mr Whiteman, speaking to MPs on the Commons Home Affairs Select Committee, said while some improvements could be made to UKA systems, others could take much longer.

"In terms of UKBA improving over the next couple of years, some of things are quick. [IT] is going to be a recurring theme, and what we have to do at the moment is put in place some reviews and studies.

"The systems are still prone to resilience problems and that will not be put right overnight."

Immigration lawyer Andrew Tingley said any delays in processing times could be extremely expensive to the British economy and even lead to foreign investment taking its business elsewhere.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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