This week the UK Border Agency (UKBA) announced the launch of a new pilot which is now in force. The Home Office, in partnership with Capita, has devised a scheme which will remind individuals whose permission to stay in the UK is due to expire that they must either apply for further leave to remain, or depart from the UK.
We have been informed that as part of the pilot, “Capita will make contact with a randomly selected sample group of migrants whose leave to remain in the UK will expire in June 2013.” These individuals will receive a letter, email or SMS reminding them to either apply for further leave to remain in the UK, or to make plans to depart before their permission to stay expires. They will receive further reminders one month, and then seven days before their leave expires.
This announcement may understandably prove a cause concern amongst non-EEA nationals currently living and working in the UK. This is because it was widely reported at the end of last year that Capita contacted some migrants in error when assisting the Home Office in its attempts to remove overstayers and illegal immigrants and this caused considerable stress for those involved.
In their statement, the UKBA assert “we will continue to work closely with Capita to ensure information provided is accurate. If we receive evidence to show that an individual’s leave is not due to expire in the next 2 months, they have already applied to extend their leave, or they have left the UK we will update our records.” They have also advised that any individual who has been contacted by Capita can speak to a UKBA advisor by calling 0844 375 4646 or emailing Capitapep@homeoffice.gsi.gov.uk.
We will be monitoring the situation closely and if we have concerns about the operation of this scheme in practice we will raise these with the UKBA. However, should any individuals be contacted in error by Capita then they can call us on +44 (0)207 001 2121 and one of our consultants will be pleased to assist.