I have been reading your posts as I had a similar case. I applied for permanet residence under europen law 7 months ago. The HO has NOT yet processed the application, it says it their website that they are now processing applications that were sent before February 2008 - which menas they are taking up to 1 year instead of the usual 6 months.
Then I had to travel to Italy so I asked for my passport back, I explained it was urgent but it has taken 10 days exacty!
They have NOT allowed me to go and pick it up even know I begged them, the actual address which they have to post the passport back is only 5 minutes walking distance from the HO.
So ironicaly I got the passport the same day I had to travel which means I could NOT travel. I had a very important appointment in there and couldn't make it because of the HO.
Now people is pissed off in Italy because I couldn't make it and they are refusing to make me another appointment.
As you all know that is a VERY upsetting situation, there is no such thing as freedom, there seems to be no laws about when things needs to be done here in UK.
Now the interesting part is that the passport comes back without anything on it, I mean no "temporary" visa or anyting like that. Obviously if I ask for my passport back is because I need to travel and if I need to travel I also need to at some point come back, since my application was not withdraw I fell they should stamp something on my passport to allow me to come back, right? Or am I crazy here? What is the point of this? Oh wait a minute...I know!! They don't actually want you to go back. In fact all this bulls*** is just to make things hard for us because they want us to give up and go home. But it isn't fair because after 5 years in this country paying HIGH taxes I fell my home IS here.
Anyway I could go on and on but the whole point of this post is to ask you...is there anything at all we can do to change this?