back to article Freshly outsourced Home Office project: Overseas student visa IT slammed for delays

UK universities have slammed the Home Office's outsourced visa system for foreign students as not fit for purpose because it leaves scholars waiting weeks for appointments. The newly outsourced service handled by Sopra Steria requires students to provide documents and biometric details at specific centres rather than at their …

  1. Pascal Monett Silver badge

    Sopra Steria, helping you get into debt to study

    Congratulations, Steria. You make them pay to enroll, pay more over the week end and pay a God-awful amount by minute to try nd get some help in the nightmare you created.

    That from a company based in a country where education is supposed to be free (as in beer). Okay, it isn't really, but if they tried to pull that shit off in France they'd be crucified.

    Well done adapting your underhanded tactics to a country that apparently can't do anything about it.

    Shame on you, Steria.

  2. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Hostile Environment

    All going to plan then.

    Plenty of people I know cheer every time it's made more difficult for immigrants to get into the UK.

    "Worth every penny!"


  3. cornetman Silver badge

    Wait, foreign students need to provide biometrics and documents to apply for a VISA ... in the City of the UK?

    Can someone fill in the gaps for me here?

    1. Anonymous Coward
      Anonymous Coward

      Wait, foreign students need to provide biometrics and documents to apply for a VISA ... in the City of the UK?

      Can someone fill in the gaps for me here?

      Plenty of people can initially come to UK without a visa, but still need a visa to study full-time or over an extended period.

      1. MonkeyCee

        Build a wall.....

        Just to extend Any other name a bit, almost all illegal immigration consists of a person entering a country legally with one type of visa (typically tourist or student), then staying in the country while violating some of the terms of the visa.

        The idea that you prevent all illegal immigration at the border is extremely naive. It's how do you police the people once they are in your country, and what do you do when they have effectively settled.

        Depending on how they are obtained, a student visa may require you to prove things from your home country first, such as going through a partner university, or may require you to show up in the host country on a tourist visa until the sponsor university is satisfied you can pay, and your grades are real. It also means the university doesn't have to do certain checks, just assumes that you can leave your home country and enter the UK without any other external issues, ie previous convictions.

  4. Bitsminer Bronze badge


    Sopra Steria is charging each student £200

    And here I thought only banks had a license to print money.

    1. MonkeyCee

      Re: License

      UK Immigration has been run on a profit making basis for a decade or so now.

      So for every interaction, you have to pay: cost * x + y.

      Same for every time the fuck up, or they incorrectly deny you.

      1. lglethal Silver badge

        Re: License

        Yep thats my experience.

        15 years ago I was working in the UK on a Working Holiday Visa (that cost me £200). When that visa came up to the expiry period I tried to apply for a regular work visa (I was in solid employment as an engineer by that point). That cost me £1500 (non-refundable). Which they promptly rejected because they refused to accept my overtime pay as being part of my salary (something I still dont understand to this day), and so I was £100 under the level needed for the visa I was trying to get. A review found no problems with their analysis, but if I wanted to submit more paperwork, like a letter from my firm saying yes I do get paid ovetime pay as part of my salary, they would be happy to review it for another £1500. I said bugger that and went and worked elsewhere.

        5 years later, I had a great offer for employment in the UK on a very good salary, and so I applied for the visa and this time paid £2500 (non-refundable). And promptly had my visa rejected, because my previous employer had not physically signed my payslips ( a) the requirement for that only appeared after my paperwork had been submitted - i had proof of that, and b) whose employer signs their f%&king payslips??). Still they refused to accept it. But if I wanted to get the payslips signed (difficult since I was no longer in the same country as my previous employer), I would still need to reapply and pay another £2500 for the chance of a new visa. once again, I said bugger that.

        As much as I loved working in the UK, you wont get me back there, and I wouldnt advise anyone to even try, UK immigration is a complete rort...

        1. Anonymous Coward
          Anonymous Coward

          Re: License

          I applied for standards visit visa , they read some ONE ELSE passport instead of mine , the did not read my application at ALL and sent me refusal on the ground that were NOT MINE ....I believe the are trying there best not to let any one from this planet to enter Uk , as if the whole world is ruined and only live able place left is UK , where people still sleep on streets and municipalities officially distribute sleeping bags to sleep on streets . HATS off to this complex .

    2. CrazyOldCatMan Silver badge

      Re: License

      only banks had a license to print money

      ObPedant: In England the banks don't print money at all - it's entirely the perogative of the Royal Mint. In Scotland, some banks are allowed to print money (but I think they mostly outsource to RM or one of the secure printing outfits).

  5. Muppet Boss

    Wait a minute, and they still have to visit OVRO too??????? That would be ridiculous!!!

    1. Stu Wilson

      £36 OVRO

      yes, if they happen to be from one of the 30 odd countries specified and has to be registered within 7 days of entering the UK.

      Note BRP's are for any 'durn furriner' not just the list of baddies that CT want to keep an aye on, and only required under certain circumstances or if the visa stay is longer than 6 months

  6. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Burn baby, burn.

    Does the price include a please-torch-my file fee?

  7. SVV

    The French outsourcer was awarded a £91m contract

    Zut alors! C'est tres amusant!

    1. Yet Another Anonymous coward Silver badge

      Re: The French outsourcer was awarded a £91m contract

      They managed to find a French company willing to take a long term contract in Britain priced in £?

      The home of the surrealists

  8. Tom -1

    A disgraceful mess

    This is an over-priced disgraceful mess, but nothing will be done about it with Boris controlling the government. I wonder how many current cabinet ministers (or recent cabinet ministers or current or recent prime ministers) own shares in that French company,

  9. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    we provide preconfigured kit for a lot of companies and there are 2 names that are dreaded... Sopra Steria and Home Office... and this combination would be double dread!

    Most new rollouts are running smoothly after a couple of weeks, after they figure they probably need more WiFi APs and more fibre, but SS/HO jobs are a complete mess... they either want stuff yesterday, or we build kit urgently that then sits round for months because no one bothered to check if the site was ready... configs/builds are late/incomplete/plain wrong... circuits (WAN or LAN) are supplied as fibre/copper and the kit is ordered as copper/fibre, so they can connect... and it's always our fault (if they ever respond to our comments/complaints/queries)

  10. Anonymous Coward
    Anonymous Coward

    Spare a thought...

    For those who are being foisted onto the highly extortionate 10-year settlement route..

    They typically have to find north of £1000 per application every 2 years or so (some have to add +£800 for an IHS - Immigration Healthcare Surcharge even though they'll pay N.I contributions on top of that!) until they've accumulated 10 years through repeat applications, THEN they need to find north of £2000 for the process leading up to 'naturalizing as a British citizen..

    Oh and the application processing time is circa 6 months; faster option costs another £800.

    Oh and No status checks permitted

    Oh and No decision checks permitted

    Oh and No travel permitted while decision is pending

    Oh and (For some) no WORK permitted while decision is pending

    Oh and if they decline permission, you pay for the appeal (90% cases won on appeal, but no refund for appeal costs)

    Oh and if you should fully participate in democratic society and for example get arrested at a protest, you're eligible for deportation because you've had interactions with the police..

    It's sickening - charging people to become second class citizens

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