Sat. Jan 16th, 2021

Migrants forced to wait months for UK visa despite paying £800 for priority

The Home Office has been accused of incompetence after handing the fast-track service to private firms

Xanthe Couture, a Canadian living in the UK with her British husband, applied in March for indefinite leave to remain. The Home Office website said she would have to wait six months for a decision, but that if she paid an £800 super-priority premium on top of its £2,389 fee, she would hear back within one working day of submitting her biometric details.

Couture needed her residency permit swiftly to travel abroad for work, so she paid up. Five months passed before she heard her application had been successful. “The delay has meant I missed a summit I was a lead in organising and another important overseas meeting,” she says. “The uncertainty, the high costs and the lack of information from the Home Office have affected my mental health and my ability to do my job.”

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