Thousands of foreign students (Non-EU) enter the UK each year to attend British universities. Many of these students after graduation seek to stay in the UK.
The previous Labour government in the UK are blamed for 'opening the gates' and allowing far too many foreigners to settle in the UK. During the past year the 'CONDEM' (Conservative - Liberal Democrat) government have been pressured by the media and public to do something about the problem of more and more immigrants arriving each day in the UK. The message that still needs to be communicated is that the UK is FULL.
All around the world, each day British Embassy Visa offices are full of people seeking a visa to visit/work/settle in the UK. Many of these visa processing services have been outsourced to a private company. Here in Ukraine, the 'Visa Office' is managed by a private company who are responsible for accepting, checking, processing, collecting fees and then passing visa applications to the UKBA (United Kingdom Border Agency) for approval or rejection by an immigration officer.
These people employed by the UKBA carry a lot of power. They know that they are free from any 'interference' from local Embassy staff including the local British Ambassador. Only the UKBA decides who gets a visa to enter the UK.
In the 'good old days', when visa offices were the sole responsibility of British Embassy staff, people seeking a visa to enter the UK would request help from their 'contacts' at the Embassy. Those days are over.
The British Ambassador in Ukraine - Leigh Turner admits that he is unable to help people with visa applications and he has no influence in the decision making process. To the majority of Ukrainians find this difficult to comprehend.
Within the British Business Club in Ukraine we receive many requests for help with a visa application.
The best help we can provide is to make sure that the application and supporting documents are 100 percent correct. We understand the frustrations that Ukrainian people experience when dealing with visa applications. Moreover, many British people living in Ukraine are married to Ukrainians and their spouses need a visitors visa if they wish to accompany them on visits to the UK. The procedure for obtaining a visitors visa is the same over each time and has to be started from the beginning each time, even though many Ukrainians have been to the UK time and time again.
But, lets return to the problem of too many immigrants entering the UK. The British public would be more than happy if the government just closed the borders and made the process for entering the UK even more difficult. Some international companies based in the UK may claim the new tough line on visas is making it hard for them to attract talented people from Non-EU countries and many British universities are already complaining that it is more difficult to recruit international students (Non-EU).
With the Olympics ready start in London very soon it will be interesting to see how the UKBA manage to process the millions of people passing through UK airports without causing to many delays.
A recent article in The Ukrainian Week by Michael Binyon 'Britain is Closing Down' explains the situation well.