I have written to the Minister for Safe and Legal Migration regarding the backlog in processing British Passports.
We need commitments from the UK Government to ensuring that:
- Passport applications are processed quicker,
- More call handlers are employed to cope with the volume of calls being made,
- People are refunded their passport application fee where non-delivery of their passport has resulted in holidays being cancelled.
The full text of the letter:
We, the undersigned write in relation to the backlog in processing British Passports. Members of Parliament are being inundated with complaints from constituents regarding the delays in processing their passport applications. This has resulted in many families losing out on hundreds or thousands of pounds as holidays must be cancelled.
Director General of HM Passport Office, Abi Tierney has advised that applicants must allow ‘up to’ ten weeks to apply for passports, but many constituents are reporting that passports are failing to arrive before departure dates despite being submitted more than ten weeks previously.
Applicants have also reported they have cancelled their online application when deadlines are nearing and made appointments at local offices for the fast-track service only to be turned away as HMPO has failed to cancel the online application when requested by the applicant.
Others report that despite paying for fast-track services these are failing to deliver on time.
Assistance is not being provided where HMPO has been guilty of process errors, failing to record supporting documentation and on occasions terminating applications in error.
Applicants also report that assistance is not being provided because helplines are uncontactable with some waiting 2 hours and more before being cut off.
This is also the case with the MP hotlines. MPs and staff are reporting being held in a queue for an hour before being forced to terminate their call as they are not moving up the queue.
We call on the UK Government to act urgently to ensure British Passport applications are being processed much more quickly. Additionally, we request more call handlers are employed to cope with the volume of calls being made to both the general public and MPs’ lines.
Furthermore, we call on the UK Government to ensure that every application fee paid for non-delivery of passports which have resulted in holidays being cancelled are refunded immediately.
Marion Fellows MP