UK Visa: Home Office Is Unwilling to Announce the ‘High Risk’ Countries of Origin
Campaigners have called out on the Home Office for its refusal to reveal the list of countries pertaining to different ‘risk’ categories as regards visa eligibility. The UK officials now use an AI-powered system to facilitate visa decision-making. The Home Office assures it’s in full accordance with the law.
In support of the case raised by the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants (JCWI), advocacy group Foxglove is urging the Home Office to explain the logics of filtering visa applications.
The Home Office responded that they do use nationality as a decisive factor. However, they wouldn’t provide a full list of ‘unwanted’ nations to the JCWI.
JCWI’s Legal Policy Director Chai Patel commented that the details on ‘high risk’ nationalities would be biased in any scenario. The Home Office databases also contain errors so half of appeals against the body’s decisions may not get a fair resolution.
The Home Office emphasised that the definitive decision on allowing or refusing entry to the country is the responsibility of immigration officers. The streaming solution launched in 2015 evaluates risks based on multiple parameters including nationality, yet every application is finally reviewed by an entry clearance officer.
The Home Office reports that the UK Visas and Immigration service received over 3.3 million visa applications from June 2018 to June 2019. 2.9 million applications were approved. The standard term for visit visas is up to 15 working days. The UK officials granted over 2.4 million visas for leisure, study and business.
JCWI now requests the Home Office to unveil the streaming tool’s details, targets attributed to each of the three migrant categories and complaints on the algorithm. The Council believes that the tool is just a revamped edition of the previous system that was ruled out as unlawful back in 2005.
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