Is The UKVI Priority Service Value For Money?

24th April 2018 by

On my first ever trip to Thorpe Park with my son (who was 8 years old at that time), it soon dawned on us that the we would only get to go on 3-4 of the popular rides during the whole day, as the queues for them were very long.

On our next trip, we wised up and paid for a premium priority ticket, which took us through a separate entrance to each ride so that we ended up at the front of the queue. My son got to go on all his favourite rides, sometimes twice.

The saving of time that we experienced at Thorpe Park cannot be said to have been shared by those individuals using the Home Office “Priority Service”.

Under this scheme, for a payment of an additional £551, applicants are promised an expedited service for the normal processing time of 12 – 16 weeks.

For Tier 2 applicants, the Home Office website states:

“You can get a decision on your visa within 10 working days if you apply to extend or switch to a tier 2 visa using the Tier 2 Priority Service”

Our client’s experiences and the facts differ somewhat from this statement. The Home Office data from Oct 2016 to Sept 2017, shows that over £3.5m was paid to the Home Office in Priority Service fees by almost 6500 applicants. Out of that, just over 800 applicants received their decisions within 15 days or less. That means that over 88 % did not.

I admit that the analogy of our trip to Thorpe Park may not be a fair one as there are many reasons why a decision maker at the Home Office cannot make a speedy decision, and admittedly some delay may be the fault of the applicant in not providing the correct information or documents. However, the data above on the decision making times is so skewed that I would argue that something is seriously wrong with the way the Home Office is run.

I am certain of one thing: if the Thorpe Park priority pass had not actually expedited the queuing process, I would have felt absolutely justified in demanding my money back that I paid for the service.