Errant UK Settlement Visa

The immigration process is not an easy one. Particularly if you need to deal with Worldbridge. They are the UK Border Agency’s ‘official partner’. Some say that outsourcing governmental work to private companies is simply a means saving money by hiring poorly paid serfs who lack the competency to the job properly, at a cost of an effective professional service. Worldbridge seem intent on living up to that claim.  The names of the innocent in the recently sent email pasted below have been changed. Except for Worldbridge’s name. They are guilty as charged as far as I am concerned, and worthy of all the contempt and scorn that might be heaped upon them.

Dear Sir or Madam,

I am writing on behalf of my wife, Juanita Banana. I am her sponsor for her settlement visa. Her Application number is ************. On Monday June 13th we received an email, to my wife’s email account (juanita.banana@live.com) from  NEYOZVisaInfo@fco.gov.uk, that stated her UK Visa had been issued, with information about UPS tracking information. I have copied and pasted the email in its entirety below, minus the usual disclaimer at the foot of the page.

Despite stating that delivery would be in 2 to 5 business days and that tracking information on UPS would be available, no UPS tracking number was contained in the email and the visa has not been delivered. Nine days later, and no further information has been received about either the location of the visa or the UPS tracking number.

Worldbridge, the official partner of the Border Agency, would seem to be the obvious place to go for information. However, my wife and I have had four contacts so far with Worldbridge, with a current success rate of 0%.

Our first contact was a phone call by myself, at a cost of US$13, to find out whether the copy of my passport page to be included in Paola’s application pack needed to be signed by a referee. I was told by the Worldbridge adviser that I needed to have it signed at the British Embassy. I told him I was in Britain, and asked, rather incredulously, if I was meant to get it signed at the British Embassy in London. He stated that was so.

So incredulous was I, that I got him to repeat that several times, just to make certain that I wasn’t going mad. In the end, I had to inform him that there is no British Embassy in London. He paused, sought advice from a supervisor, then told me that a copy of my passport was fine and did not need to be signed at all. The adviser is, according to Worldbridge, a fully trained agent.

Juanita then presented her visa application package to Worldbridge at the British Embassy in Mexico, only to be told that she should have included my actual passport. Not a copy, signed or not. My actual passport. Which is ridiculous. She refused to accept the application pack, and we had to send it, at our own cost, to the British consulate in New York. I strongly suspect, although cannot prove, a scam. We did include my original birth certificate, which I had accidentally left in Mexico after living there for nearly six years.

The third encounter with Worldbridge was another paid for phone call, asking about the location of the visa and the tracking number. The adviser took the details of my enquiry and provided me with a case number, but I have thus far not received a reply.The final, most unfortunate, episode was an email sent to Worldbridge last night. I informed them that my wife had received an email from the NY Consulate telling her that her visa has been issued but no UPS tracking had been included, nor had the visa been received.

From previous experience, I had low expectations of a helpful response from Worldbridge, and they did not disappoint. We received a reply from Worldbridge today telling us that when the visa is issued we will receive an email telling us so, with a UPS tracking number. This was a true ‘WTF’ moment.

To be fair to Worldbridge, whilst they do claim that the phone will be answered by a ‘trained agent’, they make no claims as to exactly what they are trained in. It does not seem, however, that basic reading comprehension, common sense and general competency are qualities deemed essential for the role. Our second encounter suggests honesty may also not be a prerequisite requirement.

So you will please forgive me if I appear to lack any faith whatsoever in Worldbridge providing me with relevant information to the questions I answer. I am currently taking up the issues I have had with them with my local Member of Parliament and the Border Agency, to whom I will send copies of this email separately, and will at a later point seek financial redress through the Small Claims courts in the UK.

As making any further progress with Worldbridge seems unlikely, I do therefore ask, nay – beseech, that you help me unravel the mystery surrounding the current location of my wife’s settlement visa, and the UPS tracking number that is associated with it. I will gladly jump through the required hoops and leap over the necessary bars, if only someone would tell me where the hoops and bars are.

I thank you in advance for your help in resolving this matter, and I greatly appreciate your most urgent response.

Yours sincerely,

Hugh Juan.

17 thoughts on “Errant UK Settlement Visa

  1. And actually, there was a fifth encounter. I phoned Worldbridge to make a complaint. However, the ‘trained agent’ wanted to charge $13 to my card before he gave me advice about how to complain……

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    1. You do. I’ve dealt with Mexican bureaucracy for an FM3, and that was some time ago before things were simplified. But even then, despite the waits, the professionalism of Mexican Immigration put the British agency to shame.

      I got an email a little while ago from someone who found (in impressively short time) my post. I’m not the only one…

      Hi there,

      My girlfriend from Peru has had the same problem that you posted today, she received the email saying her visa had been issued, however there was no UPS tracking number in the email.

      I have asked her to try contacting the NY British Consulate to see what happens with them… Let me know please if you find a resolution to this problem.

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  2. I had my first “real” experience with Mexican bureaucracy Friday. I had tried to buy an apartment at a government auction, and was required to make a 54,000 peso deposit to be allowed to bid. I didn’t get the apartment, and went on Friday (with an attorney) to retrieve said deposit. We arrived at 9:30 when the appropriate department opened. Not much of a line– good thing. But the computer system was down and nothing could be done without it. So we went off to have breakfast at the restaurant that shall not be named. (Part of the empire of the world’s richest man.)

    Back an hour or so later, the system was still down. We waited. Chatted. Gave my attorney a few ESL lessons.

    Finally the system came back up. And untrue to form, once the system was running, things actually went pretty quickly. The backlog was cleared, and within another half hour we had our cheque.

    Unfortunately, it’s a bit of a catch-22. I can’t actually cash the check in Mexico at the payer’s bank. It has to be deposited into an account in my name. But as a foreigner here on a tourist visa, I can’t open a bank account either. Can’t sign the cheque over to my attorney. I’ll have to try to deposit to my own bank in the USA, which will likely seize the opportunity to charge me USD $100 or so for the privilege.

    Anyway, I feel for you. (BTW, you missed one instance of the petitioner’s real name.)

    Saludos,

    Kim G
    DF, México
    Where we are spending a glorious week with F.

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    1. Kim – I wish you had a Blog – would like to read more details to your bidding adventure; and the final outcome of getting your pesitos back. And you always seem to have a lot of good comments – get a Blog going amigo.

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      1. I’ve suggested it to him on more than one occasion. I know he’s pondered the idea.

        Come on Kim…you have two subscribers already, and you’ve not put a word down on virtual paper yet!

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      2. Thanks! That’s very kind. When I retire and have more time, I’ll consider a blog. Meanwhile, I’m kind of freeriding as a commenter on the blogs of others.

        Saludos,

        Kim G
        Boston, MA
        Where we have lots of ideas for future blog posts.

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        1. Having found much less time for blogging since I returned to the ‘real world’, I do understand your reasoning, even if I find it disappointing nonetheless! There are ways for you to capture your comments. Kim’s Comment Blog would in itself make for good reading.

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  3. A government auction? I’m intrigued? What sort of price ranges are available for these sorts of properties? Do tell more. If (aka when) I return it will, I sincerely hope, be with a decent deposit for a home.

    I even miss the infamous restaurant that shan’t be named. But the good news is that the (not so secret) petitioner has her visa. It was sitting in the British Embassy for a week, and no one bothered to tell us. Indeed, upon previous enquiry, they denied having anything to do with visas at all and had refused to even discuss the matter. She arrives at Heathrow on Sunday. It’s not a nice flight though. Fifteen hours with a stop in dazzling Detroit…

    Gary D
    Ringwood, UK
    Where we feel you are rubbing it in a little….! 🙂

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    1. So the government auction is what happens to foreclosed properties, either from non-payment of the mortgage, or losing the property in a lawsuit. You have to go to the appropriate court and see what’s on the docket, then you show up, make a good-faith deposit (what I’m trying to get back), and then bid up to your limit.

      HOWEVER….

      The tough part is getting the existing tenant/owner out of the property. This can take years and some serious legal coin. While this keeps the auction price of properties low, it also introduces a big amount of uncertainty into the process. So this is not a route for the faint of heart.

      For reasons I don’t want to go into here, what I bid on was a somewhat different situation, and as a result, the counter-party bid against me, and had nothing to lose by making an outrageous bid.

      E-mail me if you want to know more.

      Saludos,

      Kim G
      Boston, MA
      Where we still remain somewhat intrigued about the prospects of picking up a property cheap this way.

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  4. I’m from St.Lucia in the Caribbean , UK embassy in nyc said my spouse visa was issued last Wednesday and I would receive package via ups . It had no tracking number and a date for 13/07/2012 when the visa was issued 20/03/2013. Those people are jokes don’t even know what to do .

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    1. If I remember rightly, my wife’s visa was sitting and waiting for collection at the British Embassy. The procedure is a joke. Considering the outrageous cost of the visa, you’d think they’d provide a half decent level of customer service.

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