Community, Diaspora and Immigration
UK visas rubber-stamped in just ten minutes for Ukrainian migrants
Tens of thousands of Ukrainian nationals are having their British visas rubber-stamped in just ten minutes, an official report reveals today.
Despite the country being rated as ‘high-risk’ from fraudulent applications, visitor visas were being waved through without proper checks, inspectors found.
John Vine, the chief inspector of Borders and Immigration, found refusal rates had plummeted to just 4 per cent.
The findings emerged in a highly critical report into the visa processing centre in Warsaw, Poland. It handles about 56,000 applications a year, of which more than 36,000 are visitor visa applications from the Ukraine.
Anyone given a visitor visa can enter Britain for a set period of time, but there are scant checks on whether they leave the country at the end.
Ukraine is not part of the EU so its nationals have no rights to come to Britain and cannot work unless given specific permission. The report will raise concerns that thousands are getting in, staying and working in the black economy.
The report found inexperienced and temporary staff were under pressure to clear 45 applications a day – the equivalent of one every ten minutes.
As a result, document checks designed to prove if migrants were genuine visitors – or trying to enter the country permanently – were not carried out.
Managers were breaking rules suggesting they should review one in five cases, and in a three-month period, only 3 per cent were given additional scrutiny.