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Petitioning Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party David Cameron MP

We call on you to create a Home Office Visas and Immigration Section that works.

When we started the Love Letters to the Home Office project it was because of the effects of one particular law that we believe violates the human rights that The Home Office Visas and Immigration Section is entrusted to uphold. As we gathered stories of those who have been affected by the unfair Family Migration law of 2012, we realised that no one we encountered, including ourselves, had had a positive experience of dealing with the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section. The themes were the same – confusion, frustration, inefficiency and delays. But worst of all is an overriding impression that the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section is not objective, respectful or accountable to the people it serves.

Simply put, the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section as it is now does not work. We believe that with some pragmatic changes it can work.

The purpose of this manifesto is to present a set of reforms that the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section can implement in order to guarantee a respectful experience for everyone who interacts with it. This means that, unlike now, the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section must place its focus on doing what is right rather than being right. If these changes are not made applicants will continue to be unfairly turned down for visas or subjected to indefinite processing delays, families will continue to be separated and  human rights will continue to be afforded only to those the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section deems deserving.

We call on David Cameron to create a Home Office Visas and Immigration Section that works by making the following reforms:

Use objectivity, transparency and accountability as the basis for every policy made by the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section and every action it takes.

Support those who work for the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section and enable them to "whistleblow" any practises or decisions which are not in accordance with the human rights of any citizen or potential citizen.

Develop an Immigration Officer qualification at minimum HND level, which includes social, psychological, financial and legal elements.

Make the Immigration Officer HND compulsory for anyone who has jurisdiction over visas worldwide.

Increase the size of the Home Office and Immigration Section staff and pay competitive salaries in order to attract the best team members.

Allow the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section to operate as an apolitical body, not motivated by or bound to party strategies

Set up an independent regulator to monitor the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section to whom anyone can complain if irregularities are suspected .

Publish a freely and easily available list of required criteria that must be met and documents that must be produced to satisfy every category of visa or immigration status.

Make available an official binder with demarcated pages for each set of documentation for ease of processing.

Provide regular community surgeries where anyone can drop in to ask questions or for help with submitting visa applications.

Assign a dedicated Immigration Officer to each application

Track all applications using a barcode system.

Enable applicants to track their application and documents online

Make the dedicated Immigration Officer available to engage with applicants if necessary.

Allow all relevant family members to attend any Home Office Visas and Immigration Section or embassy appointments if they so wish.

Only outsource Home Office processes when absolutely necessary.

Subject any outsourced process to the same regulations, standards and principles as the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section as well as the scrutiny of the “visa regulator”.

Subject all British embassies, consulates and satellites to the same regulations, standards and principles as the Home Office Visas and Immigration Section as well as the scrutiny of the “visa regulator.

Return all documents by signed for recorded delivery

When an application is denied, guarantee an exit interview where the Immigration Officer in charge explains clearly and without legalese the reason why the application has been denied.

Extend the time to provide further documentation from the current 28 days to 90 days.

Provide written feedback after the rejection of an application in simple English and relating to the specific case, not copied and pasted from a set of standard responses.

Provide a simple, non-accusatory way of managing mistakes The Home Office Visas and Immigration Section has made on documentation it has produced.

Use neutral, non-inflammatory language when referring to applicants, immigrants or anyone dealing with Home Office Visa and Immigration Section systems.

 Stop referring to drugs, crime and terrorism in the same breath as immigration on The Home Office website, manuals and any other documents.

Be open about the fact that non-EU migrants are not entitled to any public funds and cannot simply arrive in the United Kingdom and claim benefits.

Stop being bound to an obligation to “reduce immigration” or fulfill immigration quotas.

Stop making decisions based on economic factors rather than human rights.

Set policies that do not disadvantage applicants on the basis of gender, sexuality, religious beliefs or disability.

Stop denying this human rights to people based upon their income.

Treat families as a unit.

Develop a Home Office Visas and Immigration Section we can be proud of – one that sets a worldwide standard for equality and accountability that works for its citizens rather than its politicians.

This petition was delivered to:
  • Former Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and Leader of the Conservative Party
    David Cameron MP

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