New Report: “…a life on hold…”
In June, we published a report in partnership with Turkish citizens into visa delays impacting European Community Ankara Agreement (ECAA) visa holders.
Despite being allowed to apply for visa extensions, the Home Office has begun to classify more cases as ‘complex’ or ‘non-straightforward’. This has resulted in significant and unexplained delays for ECAA visa holders and has resulted in a profound impact on their lives. The visa applicants are not eligible for public funds and must rely on the income from their businesses, therefore the delays have led to financial difficulties and in some cases, a loss of business.
Furthermore, those awaiting a decision by the Home Office have been unfairly separated from families and loved ones which has resulted in serious declines in emotional well-being for the visa applicants and their families. Respondents also told us they have experienced a significant decline in their mental wellbeing. 91% stated they felt ‘stress and anxiety’ due to the delays while many said they have been kept apart from loved ones because they are unable to leave the UK while waiting for a decision, even in cases of illness or bereavement.
Moving forward, we are continuing to advocate on this issue, both on behalf of Turkish citizens and all those experiencing excruciating waits for Home Office decisions. We are working in partnership with ECAA visa applicants to lobby for travel restrictions on those awaiting decisions to be lifted.
We will also be carrying out more advocacy outreach when Parliament returns in September.