nadworks wrote: ↑
Thu Dec 06, 2018 12:38 pm
I just went through the "NEW SERVICE" on Monday and the experience was atrocious:
1. completed online application and payment on UKVI within which I had to decide between "new" and conventional service processing. Decided to use the new service after checking available of freshly opened centres in central London.
2. After payment was taken, I was forwarded to the Sopra Steria UKVCAS website to book an appointment. The three nearest centres to me (basically all London centres) had no appointments at all listed. Not a single one - not even premium ones or appointments way in the future. None. Zero options. Slight frustration set in. Last time I went through the process I simply booked an appointment with my local council, which was easy and fast. I was now regretting I'd opted for the new process and started to mildly panic.
3. As the system only works on a by-postcode basis, I was unable to bring up further lounges despite the fact that I was now even willing to drive across the country to find a lounge that could give me an appointment.
4. I was starting to bad quality postcodes in the south-east of England, just to get more options. Croydon always showed at the top, but the first available date was between Christmas and new year for £100. Kinda crazy after already spending £1,349.00 for the second time (previous application attempted was rejected).
5. phoned both UKVI (who just said "out of our hands" and "nothing to do with us") and Sopra (on premium number for £2.40). The latter advised me to keep refreshing the available centres page since new openings are being made available throughout the day. What an utterly ridiculous was of playing Russian roulette...
6. I eventually found an availability in Brighton (2 hours drive from here) for this coming Monday and at a premium rate of £100. I never took Sopra's advice and sat down to refresh the web page over and over to see if I could get in somewhere.
7. I uploaded the documents I had - however the upload categories did in no way match the checklist or requirements from the UKVI application process.
I might have just been unlucky, but after carefully planning my citizenship application in spring only to be rejected after realising I've been holding the wrong type of residency card for over a year, and being aware of the looming crash out of the EU in Match which will end my chance of dual citizenship, I was slightly against the clock.
To me this "new" process is a complete mess unless it drastically speeds up the acceptance process (which I don't think it does - but please correct me if I'm wrong). The lack of visibility of available appointment slots at the centres near you at point of decision-making which system to opt into is a serious weak spot.
It's another example of the government outsourcing and privatising a part of the process they don't want to deal with anymore and leaving the applicants at the mercy of private companies' chaos and greed.