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Entry Clearances

Volume 472: debated on Tuesday 26 February 2008

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs what guidance he has issued to visa sections on queue management of visa applicants and the prevention of unauthorised and unofficial queue managers, brokers and agents. (187422)

[holding answer 26 February 2008]: The Operating Standards and Instructions issued by UKvisas to our posts abroad do not contain specific guidance on queue management, but instead offer suggestions on how procedures can be implemented and how problems should be addressed depending upon conditions and circumstances. Several ideas are mentioned to help alleviate the problems associated with queues, such as use of ticketing machines. UKvisas has recently expanded its commercial partnerships overseas. Most applications are now submitted at Visa Application Centres, in many cases by appointment. The need for applicants to arrive early to queue has been significantly reduced and, in some cases, removed.

Additionally, entry clearance managers are advised to monitor public reception areas regularly to ensure the best possible standards of customer service and conduct are maintained and to identify sudden surges in the volume of visa applications so that prompt action can be taken to avoid a build up of queues. All staff are required to sign the code of conduct which states that staff must

“behave in a manner that demonstrates their complete impartiality and professionalism in dealing with visa applications”

so that, among other things, no favouritism is shown to one applicant above another.

A copy of these instructions is available on the UKvisas website,