The UK Border Agency have issued a statement indicating they intend to increase their online services:
‘We are replacing our phone line for postal applicants in the UK who want to book appointments to enrol their biometric information. From 1 February 2012, postal applicants will need to book these appointments online.
Also from 1 February, an email service will replace our biometric residence permit help lines (0300 123 2412 and 0300 123 4699).
Customers can still use the phone services until 31 January.”
Replacing telephone help lines with an email service will undoubtedly create further communication issues for applicants and possibly considerable delays to receive even the simplest response. Furthermore, it is easy for emails to be missed and if the volume of queries is high, as we expect it will be, customers may find themselves waiting days or weeks for answers to their urgent enquiries. Additionally, the statement informs us that should a customer not have access to the internet, they will need to write to UKBA (the postal address can be found here) which would of course increase response times to possibly months.
Newland Chase advises that from 31 January all clients submit their biometric appointment requests as early as possible, to avoid any delays caused by “teething” issues with the new online system. This will also allow clients more time should problems arise and if it is found that the online help service does not offer instant responses, we will be happy to assist any clients should they experience difficulties. We would recommend that clients seek professional advice in case of any doubt.