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Can you make a complaint against the Home Office?

September 15, 2022 Amir 3 Minutes Read

The UK Home Office, previously headed by Priti Patel, has received a large amount of backlash this year ahead of the new immigration system being put into place in the United Kingdom from the beginning of 2021. Between this move towards no free movement, and the treatment from the Home Office of asylum seekers who have made it to Britain, the Home Office are not upholding the best reputation for themselves. Many migrants feel let down by the Home Office's system. If you feel like you had an immigration issue which the Home Office have caused or not helped to solve, you may be able to file a complaint against them.

How do you make a complaint against the Home Office?

The individuals who make up the UK's Home Office staff are notoriously difficult to reach, with no chance of reaching out to them via a formal email to solve any issues quickly. This makes the process of filing complaints with the Home Office a little more difficult, with individuals or lawyers having to lodge a complaint. If you do by some chance have a direct line to reach the Home Office, this may be the best way for you to reach out to them to discuss your matter. However, if like most, you don't, lodging a formal complaint may be your only option. 

Complaints about immigration decisions

Often, individuals are left in a situation where they don't feel as though the final decision on their immigration visa was right or fair. In these instances, lodging a formal complaint with the Home Office is not likely to be your best option, and it is recommended that you (ideally with the help of a legal representative for your best chance of success) appeal the decision through an administrative review.

When should you complain?

The Home Office offer a list of suggestions for the situations when you may want to lodge a formal complaint. their guidelines cover situations where:

  • Individuals have experienced a long delay in their matter being dealt with or have had to queue for a long time.
  • Individual has experienced an administrative/process error, or felt as though they have received poor service.
  • Individual has experienced poor communication, Home Office have failed in keeping individual informed, failed to answer correspondence or return calls.
  • Individual has been given the wrong information by staff, feels they have received inadequate or incorrect advice or has been misled. 
  • Lost or damaged documents e.g. passports or birth certificates submitted by individual that have been mislaid or damaged.
  • Customer care – physical environment (complaints relating to tangible, physical aspects of the service such as access, up to date equipment and accommodation as well as the ease and convenience with which it can be used).
  • Customer care – availability of service (loss of access to services, for example IT or other equipment breakdown).
  • Customer care – provision for minors (failure to take the needs of children into account).
  • Customer care – complaint handling (failure to respond to a complaint or dissatisfaction with the response.

There are, of course, a number of other reasons that an individual may want to make a complaint which are not directly listed on the Home Office's website.

How to file your complaint against the Home Office

There are two options for filing a complaint in the UK Visas and Immigration complaints procedure. These are:

1. Email: complaints@homeoffice.gov.uk

2. Online form: https://www.gov.uk/complain-uk-visas-immigration

In the majority of circumstances, your complaint should be made within 3 months after the incident. In special circumstances, this rule can be extended. The Home Office states that they will respond to all complaints within 20 days.

The response should say whether or not the complaint is upheld (or partially upheld). If the complaint requires the Home Office to take action, and it is upheld, the response will generally say what action will be taken.

If you are unhappy with the outcome, details of how you can ask for an internal review of your complaint by a more senior member of staff will be provided.

If you have questions or queries on the process of making a complaint to the Home Office, please do get in touch.

Westkin Associates


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