Overseas executives will from this week have to queue outside the Croydon
immigration office from the early hours to extend their work permits or apply
Yesterday, the rules for the Home Office’s fast-track service were changed
so that the 200 organisations which had been allowed to make up to six
applications a week for businessmen can now apply for only one.
Julia Onslow-Cole, partner at CMS Cameron McKenna, a law firm that
specialises in business immigration, said, "The Home Office’s actions will
have a paralysing effect on overseas business people working here."
Alex Paterson, senior manager of Andersen Legal, is advising clients – who
will have to apply in person – to start queuing before 6.30am and clear their
diaries for the rest of the day.
She said, "It makes the wrong impression about bringing business to the
UK. If US clients see it becoming a real issue for their executives they might
locate them elsewhere in Europe."
The Home Office has been criticised for not consulting over the changes and
providing less than two weeks’ notice. A spokesman said it wants to increase
the number of organisations in the fast-track scheme so the allocation of weekly
"slots" has been cut.
A City HR director, who wished to remain anonymous, said, "None of our
executives will go to Croydon. This is going to cause untold problems."