Despite having already recruited an extra 700 immigration caseworkers and a further 500 being hired early next year, immigration staffing levels are likely to fall short of the what is needed to register 3 million EU nationals in the UK. This does not bode well for the UK's Brexit preparations and implementation of a new immigration system post Brexit. In our experience, applicants are already facing increasingly unacceptable delays.
The Home Office is said to be facing a particular problem in "enticing staff" to move to its global processing centre in Sheffield and may have to recruit Polish and other eastern Europeans to help with the task. However, the Home Office has indicated that its EU case work is being carried out in Liverpool, not Sheffield and it is not experiencing recruitment problems there, although under EU free movement rules the jobs are of course open to EU nationals.
The Home Office insists "UK Visa and Immigration continues to perform efficiently and to high standards....thanks to increased digitisation" of its processes. Recently, we have experienced a number of IT glitches for non-EEA sponsored migrants, which has resulted in severe delays in processing their applications. So it remains to be seen whether these IT issues will be ironed out in time to deal with potentially 3 million EEA applicants!
Home Office officials have privately admitted the department is having problems increasing its immigration staffing levels as part of its Brexit preparations and may have to recruit Polish and other eastern Europeans to help register the 3 million EU nationals in Britain. ................. The disclosure comes as the immigration minister, Brandon Lewis, is to be questioned on Tuesday by the Commons home affairs select committee on the capacity of the Home Office to register the 3 million EU nationals in Britain and to implement the immigration system post-Brexit.