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Your problems with the Home Office - NEW UPDATE (4 June)

Discussion in 'ENGLISH' started by dst, May 12, 2007.

  1. dst

    dst Member

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    Some of you will remember reading an earlier post in which I asked for information about the experiences of Romanians in the UK. This information was used in a debate in the British Parliament.

    I want to ask for more help from you now.

    In particular I want to hear about your bad experiences with the Home Office, for example:

    * Long delays in processing applications

    * The Home Office repeatedly asking for new information or more supporting documents

    * Examples of where different people in the Home Office have provided you with different advice or information about your entitlement to work.


    To answer, either post your comments on this thread, or email me at romanianevents [at] googlemail.com

    thanks
     
  2. oli_ro

    oli_ro New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    I have dealt with Home Office in the month of April, while applying for a reg certificate on the basis that I am high skilled.

    My experience with Home Office representatives was "hit and miss".
    A few times I have spoken with people who totally missinformed me. I spoke with a rep who tried to convince me that romanian cannot apply with BR2 and told me to apply with regular HSMP and there is no point in sending BR2.
    But also I was luck enough to spoke with a lady who helped me find my lost additional documents, joined them with my initial application and because I had a job offer expedited the decision. Next morning she emailed me with an update.
    Also generally I can say that HO customer service representatives are not up to speed with the new process for B&R, but I felt that I was allways dealt with in a professional manner.
     
  3. tina_cris

    tina_cris New Member

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  4. dst

    dst Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Thanks Oli, this is the sort of example I am looking for - when the Home Office dont know the system they are trying to operate!

    Tina, I dont understand what your problem is because I dont speak Romanian.

    Actually, issues you have trying to be understood by the Home Office are also relevant. There is no English language requirement for Romanian and Bulgarian nationals seeking to settle in the UK. Although you cannot expect Home Office staff to speak Romanian, the Home Office is under a duty to have material which explains the system in Romanian.

    To be clear - I am not a specialist in individual cases. My interest is to highlight problems with the system as a whole, and to pressure for it to be changed. Also, you will not be asked to pay anything at any point. I want information only to make policy arguments to the Home Office and to generate media stories showing how the Home Office discriminates against A2 nationals
     
  5. negrutxa

    negrutxa New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Dear Members

    This is the right topic to complain about the lack of professionalism that Home Office showed when you dealt with them in the past. Please come forward with examples, when and how you felt discriminated and mislead.

    I have seen lots of stories on other subjects and I know you have a lot to say.

    DST, Tina_cris posted her issue on a wrong topic, so I had to move it. It was nothing relating to your subject.

    Thank you
     
  6. razvan1980

    razvan1980 New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Hello,

    I totally agree to what has been described by Bibiana. My dealings with the Home Office showed me as I will describe that they are totally inadequate for the job and do not have the business mentality of efficiency and professionalism.

    the first experience relates to my application for FLR under the ECAA. Although it's been some time since then I feel nothing in substance has changed at the Home Office. I lodged my application through a representative and I have not heard absolutely anything from the HO for more than one year. HO argue that issuing visas and permits had been stopped by the troubles that have been occurring. After more than one year I received a letter in which I was asked to provide all kinds of documents many of which they already had. It amounted to asecond application. After sending this load of papers I had to wait months to get my visa. In between I sent letters after letters to find out what is happening to my application and they didn't even bothered to answer to some of them. Sometimes they encouraged me if I was not happy to withdraw my application. After 18 months the finally issued my visa. the question remains why this wait? they did not ask for different documents or information.... it seems the management is absolutely awful and the caseworkers d not do their job properly. From the experience that I have it seems the problems remain mainly in Sheffield office. I noticed applications lodged at Croydon ar more speeily decided and the service is more efficient. I asked Mr Greg Hands MP in that meeting about the restrictions in the labour market imposed to Romanians when the HO will change and what we have to do to make it happen... It seems silence can be taken as an answer...

    The thing is since we joined the EU it seems the way the HO works in terms of applications is not professional. I know of cases in which they have not sent a letter of acknowledgement for two months and there is a considerable backlog for BR 1 applications. When I called I was told the timeframe for that application has changed as the issues are a bit more complicated. But why the Home Office have not sent any letter whatsoever? why the HO have not requested any more documents if necessary? When asked how long will it still to take to process they respond calmly that they have not got a clue.

    Another serious blunder I want to report happened to a friend recently. she applied for a registration certificate on BR1 form and they answered requiring her documents as she had applied for a work authorization card. Another friend instead of having her documents back she found a national insurance numbercard from another application in her envelope.

    Can we trust the HO is fair, efficient and professional in their immigration dealings? when will they come to understand that they have to do with people's documents and lives and they should change their procedures and system to be able to deliver a good service?

    The Home Office has failed us and continue to fail. It has not proved it can be trusted. If there is something in urgent need of reform in all its aspects is the Home Office. If you can do something to make it better we encorage you. Thank you for your cooperation and support.
     
  7. vascoron26

    vascoron26 New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    I have a friend who just applied a month ago for a registration certificate,sending as a proof of identity her ID card. I definitelly know that she sent the ID,cause I was the person who checked her application and close the envelope.
    After 2 weeks she received a letter from the Home Office saying that they cannot take a decision,unless she will send a proof of identity such as passport or ID card.
    She sent the passport and a letter as well asking them to look carefully after the documents,cause she already sent the ID card with the application.
    After one week,she received her registration certificate and all her documents,except the ID card.Probably they send it back,but....to somebody else.
    By the way,if any of you will receive or already received an ID card with the name Ileana Tranculescu on it,would you send me a message on my email vascoron26@yahoo.co.uk ?Will be really helpfull.
    I can't even hope that the Home Office will do better in the future,cause they already proove their best :)|
     
  8. Anonymous

    Anonymous Guest

    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    :mad:
     
  9. administrator

    administrator Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Message received by email from Andy First:


    andy.first@btinternet.com
     
  10. tun

    tun Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Hello,

    I have dealt with HO twice, so far.
    First time was last year at the end of October when Romania wasn't an European Union country. I ve applied for an extension of my student visa by sending a FLRS application form and aditional documents. My extension has been granted after one month so I could say I was quite pleased with HO services...
    But my second experience with them isn't the same...under consideration that i ve been legally working in the UK for more then 12 months being a student in a sandwich course, I ve applied for a registration certificate sending BR1 application form. Today it's been 2 months since I have applied and still no answer from them...not even a letter of acknowledgement like I received when appling for extension of my student visa last year...I called HO twice so far and asking more information they said, like ussualy, that the application is under consideration and they need more documents...but I am going to call them again and again until who knows maybe they will get bored and send me the certificate :)

    Anyway, what I am wondering is why when we were outside EU have been treated with more respect if you want and now being an EU country suddenly we are being treated so....sorry but I can't find a proper word...

    It's not fair.. -strike-

    Thank you
     
  11. dst

    dst Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Thank you all for your stories. I hope more will be added because the more information I get the stronger a case for change we can make.

    There are two steps that will follow. One is to encourage many of you to write to your MP - they represent all people that live in their constituency even if these people can't vote - so we can start to apply broad-based and consistent pressure on the issue. I am able to advise you more about how and when to do this.

    I can also highlight these cases at a policy level with the Home Office to demonstrate where the system is failing. I will not use any of your names in this work - you will remain anonymous - unless you write to me giving me specific permission to do this.
     
  12. sergiu.panaite

    sergiu.panaite New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Hi there,
    Firstly, thank you for taking an interest - I'm not quite sure what your position on all this is and what you actually do, but any attention is probably good attention.

    I haven't dealt with the HO much before joining the EU, despite being in the UK since 1997 as a student; fortunately, back then extensions were granted by the Customs Officers upon entering the country (except recently, when one would have to post a lengthy form, documents, a considerable £fee and wait for quite a while).

    However, I've had two highly contrasting experiences within the last few months. First came when I applied for a Reg Certificate using BR2 (I fitted in under the SEGS equivalent) - this was almost shockingly pain-free, and I got my card within 2 weeks.

    My next experience was through someone else, who had been working here for 12+ months before Romania joined the EU, and finished just before 31st December 2006. This, according to some, allows them to qualify for a RC, according to some it doesn't. Regardless of those arguments, what struck me is that they had to wait for 2+ months for any sort of reply from the HO, in which time they had no passport, very little communication, etc.

    Then again, I do appreciate that the HO is quite busy and they're doing their best to filter out bad applications and only let through legitimate ones, etc. So overall, I would say that it's not doing too badly - the only thing that really needs to improve is communication with the applicants, if at all possible. As I said before, having to wait for two months while being pretty much in the dark about your status (nothing more than "your application is being considered") can be quite stressful, among many other things. On the same topic, they need to somehow better inform RO & BG citizens of their rights, what they can apply for, how, under what circumstances, etc - at the moment it's still quite hazy, and most people are getting their information by word of mouth, which is leading to "Chinese whispers" (misinformation, etc), and therefore probably an increase in the HO's workload.

    Again, thank you, and good luck!
     
  13. otilia

    otilia New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Regarding your topic,I must say that the major problem are the British Embassies which are making peoples life a living hell.
    Myself I've applied last year for an extension of my visa in Bucharest.Of course there was a problem with my application bcs I was working and studying in the same time. Eventually my employer who has a Diplomatic status in the UK had to contact the Foreign Office about the injustice that has been done in my case and they reconsidered my application.
    Two years ago I applied for an extension of my visa in the UK and I can say that they were verry helpful at the HO,bcs they noticed I am a genuine person.
    All went well and after being EU and having lived so many years in the UK I managed to be a permanent resident.
    I did all this just by myself so I must say they ain't that tough or bad.
    Cheers
     
  14. otilia

    otilia New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    -gift- 3s
     
  15. necrutatorul

    necrutatorul New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Well done for this topic!Home Office was and still is the nightmare of all the Romanians who dared to enter Uk.As I came here back in 1995 when John Major and the Conservatives had the power I can tell that HOme Office has still the same lousy attitude for us foreigners.Back then,they've treated us like infractors,even if most of us came with a legal visa.Anyway the person signed DST is probably not british ,otherwise we all know that anyone who can *walk and talk* can work for the HO.So dear Romanians you don't have to be surprised of their attitude,its exactly the same in Romania when you come to the governamental institutions.In Romania you've sorted out your problems with the packet of Kent ,the FA soap and the coffee.But here is not like that....Another problem with the H.O.is that they've employed loads of asians -anyone travelled from Heathrow saw those asians-most of them with very little english.Anyway,going back to my experience with them...To be honest I am so frustated of being marginalised of being a romanian,I am so disgusted to explain everywhere why the *romanians* are begging in the tube,and steal purses on Oxford St.,and clone CC,etc,etc.Lately our friends from The Sun kept their mouth shut but I am pretty sure as soon as fresh discution will begin ,they'll start to eat s..t again about us.See the scenario if the BBC with that guy who was sleeping in Hyde Park.I hope thinks will get better for us all and hope everyone will go to vote saturday to try to save that little country ,from where we all come from.All the best!

    l
     
  16. dimunu

    dimunu New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Hello,

    My experience with the HO is the same as the most of Romanians very unpleasant. I've applied in April this year on BR4 for a worker accession card, being a self-employed spouse. After two weeks I received a letter from HO asking for more information. They want me to send them the WORKER ACCESSION CARD, the one I was applying for!!!????
    I read the letter a few times just to make sure that I'm reading the right words. I ring them and explained the situation. The team leader said it must be a confusion and he sort it out in two days.

    It doesn't seam to be that bad but when you thing that you need at least a job offer letter to apply for this card and you can't start work without it, checking the post every day hopping that you receive it and don't loose the offer you've got, and when you receive a reply they are asking for some stupid thing, just makes you think DO THEY KNOW WHAT THEY ARE DOING?

    Probably we are not use to reply to these problems with complains on discrimination grounds like other immigrants. Before we moved to UK most of us believed that this nation is a very educated and respectful towards other nations. How wrong. I'm hopping that it is just a small part of it, don't want to generalise.

    Like someone else wrote before, I'm proud of where I'm coming from and all the education received back home.

    All being said thank you for trying to help us.
     
  17. dud

    dud New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    ...ai schimbat medicamentele ori tigarile? 8-}
     
  18. cristians

    cristians New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Hello everyone

    I want to share with you my HO saga as well. Apologies for the length!

    After spending 3 years in the UK as a PhD student and graduating, in July 2002 I had my first job as a University Lecturer. My employer, a UK university in the South East, applied for a work permit for me and the associated leave to remain. Everything went fine and I got my 3-year work permit and the new visa in the passport just fine, and quite quickly too. The only thing was that as my passport’s expiration date was December 2003, the leave to remain was only granted until October 2003, instead of the whole 3 year period granted by the work permit. Indeed this fact was mentioned on the work permit itself, along with the fact that once I get a new passport I can apply (for free) for an extension of the visa for the whole 3 year period, and this process would take between 4-6 weeks.

    In the second part of 2003 I’ve got my new passport, and then in the first week of September 2003 my employer sent my old and new passports and the necessary documentation to the Home Office in order to get my visa extended for the whole approved period on the work permit. Needless to say that this should have been a very straightforward process … well, unfortunately it wasn’t…

    After waiting until mid November (10 weeks that is!) without any news, I started to make inquiries in order to see what’s happening and what the status of my application was. I should mention that I had already booked my Christmas holiday, and I was due to fly out on 13 December. Getting through over the phone was quite an adventure, as the phones were so busy that in 80% of the cases I didn’t even managed to get in the waiting queue. Finally I managed to speak with an adviser and after quoting my reference number from my work permit which looked like LLLL/A123456 (where L represents a letter) the adviser told me that there is no such reference number. After doing some search on their computer based on Royal Mail’s Special Delivery number, they managed to find my application though, and I was informed that everything seems to be OK, the application is still in processing and that I should wait until the beginning of December and then if I don’t hear anything from them I should ring again.

    So here comes 1 December and still no news from the HO. I ring again and a after quite a number of trials I manage to get through. I quote my reference number and again I’m told that no such reference number exists. They search again some more and manage to find me again. The application is still in the processing stage. I tell the lady that I submitted my application 12 weeks ago and that being a very straightforward application I don’t understand why is taking so long. Furthermore I explain that I’m due to fly out of the country for my Xmas holyday in two weeks time and I have no passport! Finally she advises me to send a fax to their emergency line as this is the only way of speeding this process up. I’ve sent the fax next day. I also asked the lady if she can give me the correct reference number, so that the next time I call them, they don’t have to spend such a long time searching for me … she gives me the reference number, which turns out to be A123456: exactly the same number I was quoting them all the time, but without the beginning LLLL/ … speaking by brainless zombies!

    One more week passes and still no answer. I start getting really worried so I send another fax to the emergency line, and speak two more times with the HO over the phone. Finally with one week to go I managed to speak with a nice lady, and I finally get some good news. She tells me that my passport has been stamped already, for quite a while in fact, but for some reason it hasn’t been mailed! She says that it could be arriving any day now. I’m now 6 days before the travel date. I wait two more days and nothing turns up. I ring HO again, quote the reference number and I’m told that my application is still in processing … I tell the adviser, that I spoke with them two days earlier and they told me that my passport was already stamped and the delay was with their delivery division. After looking at it again, he confirms this to be the case. He still cannot tell me if the passport was actually sent or not, and it looks that it might well not arrive in time, so the best thing to do is to wait one more day and if it still doesn’t arrive, then I should go to Croydon in person and collect it.

    I ring again next day - that is with three days remaining to my travel date - to tell them that I’m going to Croydon and collect the passport in person. This time the advisor tells me that my passport can actually be in a number of locations, not necessarily in Croydon! Also they do not know in which of these locations they keep my passport.

    Now I get completely exasperated of all this, so I ring my employer’s HR department and ask them to contact the HO themselves and try to squeeze some more information. With one day to go and thanks to a very nice lady from our HR department who has spoke with HO a few times and who has been quite insistent, finally the HO confirms that my passport is held in Croydon and that I can go and collect it in person. However they say that although this is usually the case, they cannot guarantee that I will be able to get it on the day I go to collect it.

    Lucky me that my flight from Heathrow was leaving well in the afternoon! On the day of travel, I took the earliest train I could find, left my luggage in the train station and went to Croydon. I reached Croydon around 7:30AM, and after queuing till about 9:30 or so, I finally managed to speak to a HO agent. He checked my details on his computer and to my relief confirmed that my passport is all done and that they have it. I told him all the story, I told him that my flight is in a few hours, and the guy was quite sympathetic and even marked my application as URGENT. He said that typically it takes about 4 hours but because he marked my application as urgent he hopes I could get it in 2 hours or so.
    Finally some good news!

    I wait patiently for 2 and then 3 hours and nothing. Most of the other people got sorted and I was still waiting. One more hour to wait and I will lose my plane! So I try to see where my guy is and ask him what’s happening … but every time I go towards his desk, he sees me and he goes away! After a few attempts I got completely fed up and I posted myself in front of his desk. At this point, when the guy sees that I’m not going to move from there unless I speak with him, he goes away and discusses something with a lady colleague and passes her a folder. Shortly after, the same lady calls me at her desk (which is by the way something very odd, as all the other people where dealt with by the same agent they came in contact with first).

    The lady quietly flips through my passport several times, and then to my complete disbelief, the she asks me on an irritated tone: “Why did you came to collect your passport when you knew very well that your passport wasn’t ready?”. Needless to say that I was rather surprised by this statement, and after a few seconds of recollection I explained to the lady that I was told several times now that my passport was ready, and even in the morning her colleague confirmed to me the same thing after checking my details on his computer! She completely ignored all that, and kept saying her own tune. I explained again that if I don’t get my passport in the next 30 min, bye bye plane … and asked her to stamp my passport herself, as she had all the documents she required in front of her! She flatly refused, without giving any reason, and she said that the only way in which I will get my passport back that day, was if I withdrew my application completely. Well, rather than losing my plane, I withdrew my application, got my unstamped passport back and ran with the greatest speed towards Heathrow.

    Well, I managed to get to Heathrow with 35 minutes before the flight was due to leave, and after jumping the check-in queue, I managed quite miraculously to get the last seat from the plane!

    Once I reached Bucharest, the immigration officer checked my passport and pointed to me that since my visa has expired in October I was staying in the UK illegally and as such I will be fined and banned from leaving the country for a number of years. Fortunately I had the original work permit and plenty of paperwork with me to prove that I wasn’t staying in the UK illegally so they let me pass. Of course that meant that since I did not have a valid visa anymore, I wouldn’t be able to return to the UK, unless I got a brand new visa from the British Embassy in Bucharest.

    Hence, after spending the weekend in Bucharest waiting for the next working day and after queuing outside of the British Embassy next Monday, in well subzero temperatures and for more than a half of day, and after paying some £90 for something which the HO should have done for free at the time, I was the happy (and well frozen) owner of a new visa.

    Well, it only took 14 weeks, a lot of stress and around £130 in extra expenses to get it… I don’t even want to think how long I would have had to wait if I would have just waited patiently for the HO to do their job…

    My second work permit / visa application in 2005 when I changed employers went very smoothly without any problems whatsoever, exactly as my first work permit/visa application. These were processed in Milton and respectively Sheffield. But when it comes to Croydon or speaking with HO advisers over the phone … I only wish that to my worst enemy :)
     
  19. administrator

    administrator Administrator Staff Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    Received on email:

    From: mercedessalan @ hotmail.com
    Subject: RE: New announcement: Your problems with the Home Office
    Date: 15 May 2007 19:39:14 BDT
    To: admin @ romani-online.co.uk


    Dear Sir/Madam,

    Thank you for your email and for your concern regarding the Romanians leaving in the UK.

    I have been in this country for nearly three years. My experience with the Home Office is a neutral one. I have obtained the 'indefinite leave to remain' without too much hassle.

    However, not every other government agency has been equally relaxed. Inland Revenue has overtaxed me consistently by placing me on the emergency tax code at the begining of every new job. After Romania joined EU I have applied to the General Teaching Council for assessemnt of my qualifications and the award of qualified teacher status (QTS). Needless to say the delay in the procedure and their refusal to process my application fairly has caused upheaval and distress. The matter is still unresolved.

    If you require further information please do not hesitate to contact me.

    Yours sincerely,

    Mercedes Johnson
     
  20. annie

    annie New Member

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    Re: Your problems with the Home Office

    I have jad to deal with the HO on very few occasions "Thank God" as my nerves couldn't have taken much more of it. I am going back a few good years now when Romania certainly wasn't in Europe but Ro had just came out of Communism.

    Like everyone else I had to apply for my citizenship whilst I remained in the UK. I had the good sense to employ a solicitor to deal with all the bureaucracy - which she happened to move offices (my solicitor was a female) and so the HO couldn't get hold of me nor my solicitor for about 4 years. I don't know why they couldn't get hold of me as I didn't move and they had my address - but that's a different matter. So after a good 4 years I finally received a letter asking me to go to an interview at the Inspectorate with some (I don't remember exactly their positions) high and mighty inspector, etc. I went to the interview and was told that I will have to wait for a decision as result of this interview. Well, it took another 3 years to hear from them (the HO) and by this time I got married and in the meantime I applied for British citizenship and in 6 months I was granted it. However, when I went to apply for my passport not long after my citizenship, I had to repay a visit to Lunar House and submit the paperwork. After I submitted the paperwork for the passport application - not long about two days later I was issued with a letter from Lunar House to say that my application to stay -remain in this country indefinitely has been declined and that in 4 weeks time I will be deported, etc etc.

    I rang the HO at Lunar House and asked (as instructed by my solicitor - she had tried several times but with no luck) the case-worker who was allocated to my case to explain to me what's going on. When I finally got hold of her (an indian woman with a very strong foreign accent) said to me in a very rude fashion that "she" has decided to decline my application on the grounds that I got married so that I can apply for the citizenship. When I explained to her that I am not interested in the least what her opinion is - she threatened me to delay my case (I later found out that this was closed) and that she will make sure I will not get the citizenship. I had to put her out of her misery in the end and explain to her that I had already obtained my citizenship and that I am only enquiring into my old case which legally should have been closed. With much pain she had to release the information that my case was in the process of being closed and transferred to another House across the road from them. In the end I obtained the details to the new case-worker and in a couple of weeks I had my passport sorted with no further bother.

    I had to give you my story because although it's not easy to prove I was picked on because of my nationality - it just proves the incompetency with which everyone is presented when dealing with the HO. Just like the rest of this government.
     

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