3 UK Visas and Immigration |
42. The UK point based system provides for visas
in separate categories: Tier 1 is for "high value" individuals.
Tier 2 is for skilled workers from outside the EU with a skilled
job offer, and is subject to an annual upper cap of 20,700. Tier
4 is for students and Tier 5 is for people whose reason to work
in the UK is temporary and not for work reasons, e. g. artists.
The service standard target for in-country postal visa applications
is 90% in four weeks. The service standard target for premium
visa applications is 90% in 24 hours.
In country processing
The chart below shows the proportion of in country
visas applications process within target by Tier for postal and
premium applications in Q4 2013.
- Performance on postal applications is below
target for Tiers 1 and 4. Performance on premiums applications
for Tiers 1, 4 and 5 is below target.
Work in progress
- In Q4 2013, there were 113,243 in country visa
applications which were work in progress of which 22% were un-input
cases. In Q3 2013 there were 141,005 in country visa applications
which were work in progress, of which 7% were un-input cases.
Out of country processing
The chart below shows out of country visa applications
processed within 15, 30 and 60 days by Tier in Q4 2013.
- Performance in Tier 1 is below target.
- There are 58,919 out of country visas applications
that are work in progress in Q4 2013. This is a decrease from
67,078 in the previous quarter.
The chart below shows the proportion of in country
postal visa applications processed in the target time. Performance
across all Tiers has improved in 2013, although for Tier 1 only
61% of postal applications were process in target time in Q4 2013.
Performance for in country premium applications also
improved in 2013 for Tiers 2 and 5. However, still only 70% of
Tier 4 premium applications are processed in the target time in
Sponsors and licensing
43. Applications under Tier 2, Tier 4 and Tier 5
require a sponsoring body. Under Tier 2 and Tier 5 (Temporary
workers) the sponsor must be an employer based in the UK. Under
Tier 4, the sponsor must be an education provider. Such organisations
have to apply to UKVI to get sponsor status.
The chart below shows sponsor application made by
- In Q4 2013 2,296 applications were made in
Tier 2, 54 applications were made in Tier 4 and 128 applications
were made in Tier 5.
- In Q4 2013, it took 20 days on average to process
a sponsor application, down from 26 days in the previous quarter.
Follow up visits - Worse performance
- In Q4 2013, 1,536 follow up visits were made
to visa sponsors in Tiers 2, 4 and 5. This is a decrease from
1,571 in the previous quarter.
Unannounced visits - Improved performance
The chart below shows the number of follow up visits
that were unannounced.
- In Q4 2013 there was an increase in the number
and proportion of follow up visits that were unannounced.
New asylum cases
- There were 7,513 applications were made for
asylum (main applicant and dependents) in Q4 2013.
- 3,964 initial decisions were made in Q4 2013,
a substantial fall from 5,421 initial decisions in the previous
quarter. 38% of the initial decisions were grants (some of these
decisions may related to applications made in previous quarters).
Asylum applications pending initial decision -
- The chart below shows that 23,070 asylum applications
were pending an initial decision in Q4 2013, up from 20,809 in
the previous quarter.
Asylum applications pending initial decision for
more than 6 months - Worse performance
- There has been a rise in the proportion of
cases waiting more than 6 months for an initial decision. In Q4
2013 37% of cases had waited more than 6 months.
44. The total number of asylum applications pending
a decision has increased, as it has done each quarter since the
beginning of 2012. Within that total, the proportion of those
cases waiting more than six months for an initial decision has
continued to grow. The Government has said that clearing the older
cases would enable more resources to be focussed on the new cases.
In response to a question about the low proportion of asylum decisions
being made within six months, Sarah Rapson said:
There are two aspects to this. One is that intake
is up and it is up for a number of reasons, things like what is
happening in Syria, so world events. But also the tightening up
of policy, people using itI am afraida route of
last resort to stay here, whether they have been encountered as
part of an enforcement operation or whatever, and possibly a consequence
of clearing the backlogs in temporary and permanent migration
when we have refused people who are then using this as a route
to try to stay. That is the intake story. It is also fair to say
that our capacity to be able to deal with these cases quickly
has been reduced as a consequence of a restructuring that was
announced by UKBA, as was, which basically was intended to re-grade
case workers, which has had a very negative impact on the numbers
of people we have making these decisions. A restructureI
have to tell youthat we stopped last summer and our plans
now are about bringing more people in, training them, and we have
plans to bring that back into service standard, if you like, over
the next year. It is true to say that there are issues here that
we are working through.
45. The Government published its response to our
Report on Asylum in December 2013, in which it said:
Sometimes cases will take longer than 6 months
for an initial decision for reasons beyond our control, e.g. when
we await expert medical reports or where there are issues relating
to national security. But we do accept that we should be taking
well over 90% of initial decisions within 6 months.
46. In oral evidence to the Committee, in April 2014,
Sarah Rapson said:
] I think we will start to make inroads
into the backlogs about November time, with our people being trained
up properly, and by the end of this financial year we will be
in a position to say that all cases will get a decision within
that six month period.
And when asked to clarify what proportion would get
a decision within six months,
The Minister later wrote to the Committee, to explain
that Sarah Rapson wished to clarify her answer, and that "All"
should read "all straightforward claims" would receive
a reply within a six month period. Straightforward claims are
those where the Home Office is not waiting "for resolution
of circumstances beyond our control".
47. In our last Report we commented
on the increase in the number of asylum cases waiting more than
six months for an initial decision. This trend has continued for
the last eight quarters. We consider this unacceptable, and see
no evidence that the government is achieving either its stated
aim of making over 90% of initial decisions within six months
or Sarah Rapson's aim of all straightforward cases getting a decision
within six months. We agree with Sarah Rapson that there is no
reason not to make an initial decision on straightforward cases
promptly, and urge the government to take steps to achieve this
Legacy asylum cases
Asylum cases concluded - Improved performance
- The chart below shows that in Q4 2013 1,846
legacy asylum cases were concluded, up very slightly from 1,806
in the previous quarter.
The chart below shows the total number of asylum
cases in the Older Live Cases Unit has reduced slightly since
- At the end of Q4 2013, 52% of all legacy asylum
applications concluded had been granted leave to remain, 25% were
removed and 22% were found to be duplicates.
48. The number of asylum cases in the older live
cases unit decreased slightly through 2013, from 33,500 in Q4
2012 to 28,391 in Q4 2013. This is because the number of asylum
cases being added to the older live cases unit has fallen through
2013 while the number cases being concluded has risen. For example,
in Q4 2013 only 251 cases had been added while 1,846 asylum cases
49. At the current rate, it will
take until 2019 to clear the backlog, an unacceptably long delay
and much worse than the Home Office committed to. We were told
that reducing the older asylum cases would free up staff to address
the new asylum cases, and make it more likely that the Government
would meet its own aspiration of 90% of initial asylum decisions
being made within six months. Progress has been unacceptably slow,
and the Home Office's continued failure to deal with the backlog
is jeopardising prompt and fair treatment of new applicants. This
must be addressed.
Legacy immigration cases
Legacy immigration conclusions - Improved performance
The chart below shows the number of legacy immigration
applications concluded since Q2 2012.
- 4,045 legacy immigration applications were
concluded in Q4 2013, up from 3,500 in the previous quarter.
- At the end of Q4 2013 46% of all legacy immigration
applications concluded had been granted leave to remain and 25%
of applications were removed. 29% were found to be duplicates.
Q4 2013 saw another quarterly increase in duplications, and a
fall in the proportion of grants and removals.
Grants of settlement
The chart below shows grants of settlement by category.
- There were 32,632 grants for settlement in
Q4 2013, 39% of which were for employment and 40% for family formation
Appeals and tribunals performance
FIRST TIER TRIBUNAL
The chart below shows First Tier Tribunal disposals
that were determined. Cases can be either allowed or dismissed.
Bundling performance - Worse performance
The Home Office aims to get bundles to court five
days in advance of the appeal hearing. The Home Office say that
performance in recent quarters has been stable in the 65% to 67%
Representation rates - Improved performance
In Q4 2013 the Home Office achieved a 99% representation
rate at First Tier Tribunal, up from 98% in the previous quarter.
In the Q4, 44% First Tier Tribunal (Immigration and
Asylum Chamber) appeals were allowed down from 45% in the previous
In Q4 2013, the proportion of successful asylum appeals
at First Tier Tribunals was 29%, up from 28% in the previous quarter.
The chart below shows the proportion of MPs emails
and inquiries made via the MPs inquiry line responded to in target
Response to emails - Improved performance
The Home Office aims to respond to 95% of emails
within 20 days.
- 83% of emails were responded to within 20 working
days in Q4 2013, an increase from 70% in the previous quarter.
Response to MPs inquiry line - Worse performance
The Home Office aims to resolve 90% of queries via
the MP's inquiry line within 10 working days.
- In Q4 2013 69% of queries were resolved in
10 working days, down from 73% in the previous quarter.
57 Qq 114-115 Back
Q 114 Back
Home Office, The Government Response to the Seventh Report from the Home Affairs Committee Session 2013-14 HC 71: Asylum,
December 2013, Cm 8769 Back
Q 115 Back
Letter from James Brokenshire to the Chair, Abuse of immigration student route,
25 June 2014 Back