An independent watchdog has questioned the decisions made on UK visas issued through the entrepreneur route.
A report from John Vine, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration, found that more than a third (37.5 per cent) of the decisions made on entrepreneur visas for the 2011/12 financial year were not “reasonable”.
In addition to questioning the decisions made on the visas, the report found that the application backlog for this route increased by 1,520 per cent between February and December 2012.
Mr Vine expressed the extent of the problems stating that he expects the Home Office to take “immediate steps to improve the quality of its decision-making on entrepreneur cases”.
He added: “[Home Office] staff told me this [substantial increase] was primarily the result of the closure of the Post Study route in April 2012, which resulted in a displacement of applicants into the entrepreneur category.”
The report highlighted two related problems with the handling of UK visa applications. On the one hand, the Home Office was dealing with a backlog that it was keen to get through as quickly as possible, but at the same time it was at risk of rushing things and making poor quality decisions over cases in an effort to work through the thousands of cases.
The Home Office commented on the report's findings: “Whilst the Home Office accepts that reasons for its decisions must be properly recorded, it is important that we strike the right balance between retaining appropriate evidence on case files and offering a fast and efficient service that provides value for money for both the customer and the tax payer.”
This is not the first time the government has been criticised for its handling of UK visa applications. The UK Border Agency was divided into two departments and brought under closer government control in an attempt to tighten up the service on offer.