Third party contractors

ILPA’s recent survey, issued on Friday 4 December 2020, requested information from Members about their recent experiences with UKVI’s third party contractors. The deadline for responses was Wednesday 9 December 2020.

We received 35 official responses, however some responses contained multiple incidents concerning one or more service provider. A total of 45 issues were raised. We thank all Members for their detailed responses.

The issues raised predominately concerned the availability of visa centre (in particular free) appointments and the conduct of visa centre staff. Our Legal and Parliamentary Officer collated the survey responses into a report, presenting the results numerically by issue and highlighting particularly severe examples. The report was sent to the Home Office on Friday 11 December ahead of our meeting with the Home Office on 17 December.

At the meeting, ILPA raised these issues as well as issues with the IDV app i.e. either data was not passed to UKVI or there was a delay. We also raised that applicants were being asked to attend an appointment when they have already completed the IDV app process. UKVI will investigate these matters and provide an update.

It was agreed that ILPA would raise urgent/compassionate cases with the contractors directly on behalf of Members. In the New Year we will also have fortnightly meetings with Sopra Steria and will be able to raise issues in that forum as they arise.