United Kingdom (UK) visa processing times have become unpredictable thanks to a system algorithm that could be unfairly discriminating against visa applicants.
The uncertainty has left many South African applicants on edge as they face even greater ambiguity around their eligibility for settlement visas, says Ryan Rennison, director of immigration agency Move Up.
“Thanks to the more recent digital visa application developments, within the last three years we have begun to witness record-breaking decision-making processing times: the majority of cases are resolved within five working days,” said Rennison.
According to Rennison, the British government updated a fundamental part of their legislation stating that they no longer need to see original documents in November 2018.
Not needing original documents combined with the reduction of visa decision-making centres has allowed for online automation to step in. However, this has also caused some unintended problems, he said.
“Recent allegations have seen the UK Home Office being questioned about its new online system, with reports that a new algorithm could be unfairly discriminating against certain applicants.
“The latest uproar seems to have caused a shift in the way the British government is applying their visa rules and created more erratic processing times, which is negatively affecting South Africans planning to move overseas,” said Rennison.
Rennison said that the Move Up staff has not encountered any recent unfair discrimination against its clients and that he expects visa processing times to go back to normal once the algorithm has been amended.