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UK immigration staff to strike

The UK's Home Office has warned that there is likely to be disruption to the UK's immigration system at some point between 16th and 19th April 2013. The disruption will be caused by industrial action taken by the Public and Commercial Services Union (PCSU).

The PCSU says that it has asked its members who work in the Home Office, which has responsibility for immigration matters as well as policing and security, to strike in a series of strikes between 16th and 19th April 2013. The strikes will be held on the following dates

DateAction
Tuesday 16th AprilImmigration and Settlement (excluding Permanent Migration)
Wednesday 17th AprilImmigration and Settlement (Permanent Migration only)
Thursday 18th AprilResource and Organisational Development, Director of Operations, Strategy and Intelligence International Operations and Visas
Friday 19th AprilCrime Enforcement staff

The PCSU says that none of its members will be asked to strike on more than one day over the four days of planned action. Not all Home Office staff are members of the PCSU and so it is unlikely that services will be brought to a complete standstill.

Home Office managers 'do not expect any significant disruption'

The Home Office has issued a statement in which it says 'we are currently implementing well-rehearsed local contingency plans to deal with the strike action and do not expect any significant disruption. Our top priority is to ensure the continuation of our public-facing services and our public offices will remain open for business'.

However, in a paragraph which seems to acknowledge that there may be some disruption, the statement continues 'we will contact any customers who have appointments and may be affected, to reschedule appointments as necessary. If we do not contact you, you should attend your appointment as arranged'.

The Home Office also says that there may be longer than usual waiting times for those contacting the Home Office by phone. Its statement reads 'You may experience longer than usual wait times. We would ask you to be patient and we will answer calls a quickly as possible'.

Sanwar Ali of workpermit.com said 'If your query is not urgent then it might be better to leave it until next week. The Home Office claims that average call waiting times for immigration matters are usually around three minutes. Waiting times are likely to be significantly higher for visa queries, particularly on Thursday'.

If you are have a current application with the Home Office for one of the following visas and are considering phoning the Home Office, it might be wise to avoid calling their help line particularly on Thursday

  • Tier 1 high value migrant visa
  • Tier 2 skilled worker visa,
  • Tier 4 Student visa
  • Tier 5 temporary worker visa
  • Visitor visas

Those applying for indefinite leave to remain are likely to find that there are increased call waiting times, particularly on Wednesday. Those with other settlement enquiries will probably find that waiting times are longest on Wednesday.

Workpermit.com is a specialist visa consultancy with nearly twenty-five years of experience dealing with visa applications. We are OISC registered. We can help with a wide range of visa applications to the UK or your country of choice. Please feel free to contact us for further details.