There have been recent reports of the Home Office losing original documents that have been submitted as part of immigration applications. Misplaced or lost documents have a detrimental effect on the immigration status of countless individuals. The media has reported instances of individuals who have been without crucial original identity documents for years, inhibiting their ability to travel and to regularise their immigration status. In one family’s case, the Home Office advised them that the documents regarding their appeal had been lost although it still continued to contest their appeal. The response time of the Home Office has been heavily criticised as well, with some reports stating it took four years or more to inform individuals of their lost documents.
The Home Office was not previously required to report any incidents of lost documents (which would constitute a data breach) but a change in the data protection laws, effective from 25 May, altered this position radically. There is now a mandatory requirement to report all data breaches that affect the rights and freedoms of individuals. The Information Commissioner’s Office, the UK’s data watchdog, reported that they would be following up with the Home Office regarding the recent reports of lost documents and the lack of self-reporting prior to the change in the data protection rules.
Critics have suggested a digitisation process, which would ease the need for original documents to be submitted. But MPs have stressed the need for the issues in the Home Office casework system to be resolved. These reports follow similar reporting on what some people have called the questionable treatment and handling of immigration applications and cases.
This is particularly problematic as a number of countries will not issue replacement passports in the UK and the individuals whose documents are lost often have to incur the cost of travel and possible loss of employment in order to obtain replacement passports.
Gherson has over 30 years of experience in assisting with various immigration matters. Should you wish to speak to a member of our team, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.