UK immigration lawyers have labelled the Home Office “inhumane” after figures revealed some economic migrants are living without passports or UK visas for up to two years due to delays in their residency applications.
According to statistics seen by the BBC, many families are left unable to work or travel due to the delays in their UK immigration applications, which the Home Office has suggested could be down to procedural errors.
The figures show that the longest Home Office delay left one applicant waiting for 719 days for their residency decision, while another was on hold for 1,001 days during the same period from January 2014 to June 2017.
Harjap Singh Bhangal, partner at WRJ Solicitors, argues that UK visa application delays are having significant impacts on thousands of families, many of whom contain members who have lived in Britain for more than ten years.
In many cases, the applications are from migrants who have lived in Britain for at least five years on a temporary visa and are now applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK.
However, while decisions should only take around six months, some have been left waiting for more than three times that, with the Home Office keeping hold of their passport while processing continues.
Commenting on the figures, a Home Office spokesman stated that the government department realises that long delays for UK immigration applications can cause problems for both the applicants and their immediate families.
"That is why we endeavour to resolve all applications as promptly as possible and continue to meet service standards for straightforward applications for indefinite leave to remain,” they said.
"But it is vital that the correct decisions are made, particularly with complex cases that require detailed consideration and verification of evidence."