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Waiting for your passport? Look away now…


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Last year, in 2013, the Home Office launched its #beatthepeak campaign to warn holidaymakers to apply early for passports. In the space of a year we’ve gone from a social media campaign showing smoothly oiled machines churning out shiny new passports by the second to leaked photos showing the applications stacked up in meeting rooms.

From this:

Passport production line
How a passport is made by UK Home Office

To this:

Passport application files
Leaked photograph of passport application files at HM Passport Office in Liverpool via The Guardian


From this:


To this:

Passport applications stacked in meeting room
Application files at HM Passport Office in Liverpool via The Guardian

Check out the full UK Home Office Flickr album here and a further interview with Sarah Rapson, Director General of UK Visas and Immigration, on how important it is to apply for your passport early here.

Could the cause of this remarkable transformation possibly be staff cuts of 315 personnel — one tenth of the workforce — in recent years?

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Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder of the Free Movement immigration law website.


4 Responses

  1. The passport service (and the associated telephone enquiry line) has been remodelled along the same lines as the rest of the Home Office. Complaints are higher because its British nationals being affected even though they are paying as little as 3% of what some of the immigrant customers pay. Its also not helped because the passport form is not designed to elicit information that will establish that an applicant for a first passport is British which is causing problems with first applications for children as they are increasingly having to make additional enquiries which increases the time involved in processing

  2. “Could the cause of this remarkable transformation possibly be staff cuts of 315 personnel — one tenth of the workforce — in recent years?”

    Surely not!

    Still, its neater than a pile of ongoing immigration case files I saw in the 1990s….

  3. Is the requirement from 6th April 2014 for all new employees to have their passport number recorded on the payroll program possibly increasing application numbers?
    Does anyone know if an out-of-date UK passport is sufficient, or does it have to be in-date?
    What time scale is allowed when an unemployed British person without a UK passport gets a job offer?

    I do find it a little amusing that many of these applicants voted for UKIP last month (May Euro elections). I have a feeling they have no clue about what “having UKIP in power and the UK leaving the EU” will have on their travel plans in the future.

  4. The HASC heard today that the reason staff were cut was because prior to the current lot coming in the Identity and Passport Service, as it was, was geared up to introducing Blair’s ID scheme. That was scrapped and so they no longer needed the staff that had been taken on to run it. If you look back, until early last year the passport service had some of the highest customer satisfaction scores in government and was efficient enough for it to be able to reduce the fee. If something has gone wrong, it’s under the new minister and he’s the one who should be answering questions.