UK visa policy may be discriminating against Pakistanis

Published: November 4, 2010

Lin Homer, the new chief executive, meets UK Border Agency and Gerry’s local staff members on Sunday. photo: Abid Nawaz

The United Kingdom Border Agency (UKBA) may be unlawfully discriminating against Pakistanis, a United Kingdom (UK) government watchdog said on Wednesday.

Independent chief inspector John Vine, appointed in 2008 by the UK government to as the UKBA’s watchdog has said that there is a lack of confidence in the work of the visa section of the organisation.

Vine said that it was harder to enter the UK from Pakistan than from Bahrain, Abu Dhabi and Dubai.

The BBC report quoted him saying that “the UK Border Agency was not only failing to be open and transparent about their approach towards customers, but also may be discriminating unlawfully… against Pakistanis.”

The watchdog said that the UKBA required more evidence from some countries and that decisions by the agency were found to be inconsistent.

Vine said that “I believe the UK Border Agency must take immediate action to ensure it is acting in compliance with its duties under the Race Relations Act 1976.”

The UK government said that these decisions were taken to limit fraud.

Late last month, Lin Homer, the chief executive of the UK Border Agency, said that the British High Commission is determined to improve customer services and speed up the application process for Pakistanis after several mishaps in the processing of visa applications from the country last year.

Lin said that “we have made significant improvements to customer service over the last 12 months, with turnaround times now within our global target of 5-15 days for non-settlement application.”

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Reader Comments (7)

  • Adeel Ahmed
    Nov 4, 2010 - 1:45PM

    After having spent 6 years in UK as a student myself, I must say I saw a change in their attitude towards the end of my stay there.
    They are not as bad as Americans, but its getting there. Especially with the Tories in power. Recommend

  • Think therefore
    Nov 4, 2010 - 2:54PM

    Woh becharay bhi kya karein… as it is we are the top manufacturers and exporters of terrorism in the world…. who wants to risk their careers on being ear marked as the one who let the wrong one in… I would not…. I strongly URGE the UK Govt to continue with this policy…. the only way to avoid the vermins is by keeping them OUT!! We Pakistanis should be isolated and left to sort our mess out ourselves and not spread our plague to the rest of the world… afterall wether we like it or not most of us are the cockroaches of this world….Recommend

  • Jazib
    Nov 4, 2010 - 3:47PM

    In August 2010, applying from Karachi, I got my visa within 6 working days of the application submission. I don’t see how this article is relevant from my point of view.Recommend

  • Kiran Farooque
    Nov 4, 2010 - 5:23PM

    It’s true, they do discriminate. When I applied for my student visa, I made my application from Dubai (though it was a Pakistani passport). My passport was returned to me with the visa within 24 hours of my application.

    My other friends who applied from Pakistan were not as fortunate, not only were they required to show triple the amount of maintenace funds in their bank account that was needed from me, on an average their passport took 6-7 months to return and some of them had to cancel or postpone their plans to pursue Master’s in UK that year.Recommend

  • Anoop
    Nov 4, 2010 - 6:56PM

    Is it really surprising? This had to happen sooner or later right..Recommend

  • shahnawaz khan
    Nov 18, 2010 - 5:01PM

    yes its very true that they may be discriminate, are they had a trainee officer they dont check the paper just refuze the visas of my sister and brother in laws who visited already three time, and take money for ten yrs visas and they refuze the fisas for financial position, how it work i cant understand, if you think that they are not in good finamcial position why you take the feesRecommend

  • imran khan
    Nov 27, 2010 - 6:48PM

    my visa application is in process.afterthat i will comments on these statementsRecommend

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