"I have never welcomed the weakening of family ties by politics or pressure" - Nelson Mandela.
"He who travels for love finds a thousand miles no longer than one" - Japanese proverb.
"Everyone has the right to respect for his private and family life, his home and his correspondence." - Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.
"When people's love is divided by law, it is the law that needs to change". -
David Cameron.

Wednesday, 24 April 2013

Through the post

The following missive arrived through my mailbox yesterday morning :

The issue is this : The addressee (a US citizen, my ex roomie to be precise) left the UK in 2009 and has not returned since. So why is he getting a mail like this?

I refer you to exhibit B : http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20891597 - 'Migrants wrongly told to leave UK by firm hired by UKBA'. This is the same issue - incompetence by the authorities concerned and their inability to track who has left the country or indeed who has legitimate residency rights.

Among those contacted by text and email were a woman with a UK passport, and a man with a valid visa who had invested £1m in a UK business.

I went above and beyond and called Capita this morning. The conversation went something like this :

'Oh, I'm really really sorry. When did he leave roughly? Are you still in touch with him - could you ask him to get in touch to let us know when he left?'

(giggles, I couldn't help it) 'Sure, I've posted it on his Facebook wall.
I am not sure why he'd have the motivation to do so though. You've got to understand though that we're massively bending over backwards here. Ukba really need to record who leaves the country.'

'Oh, ok. Bye then.'

'I'm not going to get any more letters, right?'

'No sir.'

'Ok bye then.'

 After thinking about it (and the lovely aforementioned tour of https://twitter.com/19pst )  I can think of a few reasons to actually take it further, one among them being my total lack of confidence, borne of experience, that the matter will be resolved. I don't want my ex-roomie to run into visa issues if he decides to return; I don't want to trust in UKBA to not send any more correspondence, with who knows what filed away in a room in Liverpool ( http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20436013 ); UKBA still isn't performing, and is still messing up people's plans, and people's lives, so it needs to be in writing, and people need to know about it.

Copy of letter below :

'I write to you concerning the attached - case id xxxx.'

'The attached letter arrived yesterday (23rd March).'

'The named individual (xxxx) is a US citizen who lived at the address from 2008 - approximately August 2009. In August 2009, he returned to the US to take up a new role at his employer, and has not subsequently returned to the UK.'

'I write to you to follow up the telephone call I made this morning to Capita to clear the record and to ensure that this matter would be cleared up. On reflection, I thought it best to put something in writing.'

'I note that the person I spoke to this morning asked as to whether Mr xxxx could get in touch with UKBA to clear the matter up. As he has not been in the UK for four years, this is quite a tall order. If he were to be asked, as a US citizen now permanently resident in the US, I think the reaction would be one of some amusement.'

'It is somewhat dismaying that this is an issue. A web search reveals that similar issues occurred around Christmas time, with news stories of people with quite legitimate visas receiving text messages to 'leave the UK' when they are entirely innocent. I find it really shocking that these issues still have apparently not been cleared up.'

'To this end, I am putting on cc: the Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (whose General Secretary, Alison Harvey, is mentioned in the article http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-20891597 'Migrants wrongly told to leave UK by firm hired by UKBA); Keith Vaz, the Chair of the Home Affairs Select Committee, which monitors the performance of UKBA; and John Vine, the Chief Inspector of Borders, which also monitors the performance of UKBA (whose recent report - http://icinspector.independent.gov.uk/wp-content/uploads/2012/11/UK-Border-Agencys-handling-of-legacy-asylum-and-migration-cases-22.11.2012.pdf - uncovered 150 boxes of unopened correspondence in a room in Liverpool).'

'Please ensure that the record is cleared and the records corrected and that there is no recurrence of this correspondence. '

Hopefully this should clear matters up.

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