Those advising immigration clients have long had to adjust their advice to take into account the fact that the Home Office, with startling regularity, lose personal documents.
Many immigration solicitors will always advise when asked by clients as to whether the documents will be returned that in most cases or documents will be returned but on occasion the Home Office have been known to lose documents.
The shocking fact is that these documents can include passports, original bursar to Fickett’s original photographs and even documents of historic nature. Sadly this immigration lawyer has had on more than one occasion documents lost.
These documents seem to be lost because Home Office case management system is so poor and so on fit for purpose. New stories are bound of the Home Office undertaking external audits and auditors finding whole rooms with around 150 boxes of files locked away that were previously thought lost. Clearly the position is unacceptable.
What frustrates immigration solicitors even more is that often the Home Office will rely upon the document that is supposedly missing as a ground for refusal. This is despite the fact that the Home Office Does the document in the first place!
What do immigration solicitors have to do in order to ensure that the clients are protected?
The first is to ensure that when an application sent out, not only is there a copy of all the documents that were on file, but there is also a specific copies of documents that were submitted. This will not only provide a spare, but not original, copy but it will also provide evidence of all submitted in the first place in case the Home Office then 62 blamed around losses on the client now submitting the documents in the first place.
Secondly a list of enclosures should always be included in an application. Immigration lawyers know that If the Home Office were to suggest that the document was missing, at least the list of documents submitted could be referred to.
Otherwise frustratingly there is simply no way of preventing the Home Office losing a document or even knowing which documents they are likely to lose. The fact is every department has suffered from this and every department at the Home Office has tried to use this to their advantage.
This of course can cause tension between the client and their immigration solicitor or advisor. Many clients simply do not believe that a government department could lose documents, so come to conclusion that the document must have not been submitted originally by the solicitor , Especially once the client only finds out that the Home Office is alleging that document was missing when the Home Office refuses the application by way of a letter.
One can only feel sorry for clients as they handover hard and educational certificates or passports for the family members know that they may never see them again.