Missing Village Idiots

Idiot1

A few villages in the UK are wondering what’s become of their local idiots.  These drooling, mumbling, good-for-nothing morons are missing from the pubs, streets and Central Squares of their little hamlets.  I think I found out where they are.

A couple of them have been commissioned to build the software for visa application to enter the UK.  At least a couple more have been posted to an embassy somewhere to handle visa applications.  A further one is put in charge of the appeal process.  It seems there has been a general policy in recent times to recruit into the Foreign Service from this crop of talent.

At least one village idiot found his way into parliament to represent an unfortunate constituency, which we happen to live within, but more of this in a future blog.

I allude to my last blog where I spoke of the ease with which anyone can get into Malaysia for a few days and leave without going through absolute hell applying for a visa at a considerable cost irrespective of whether the visa is approved or not.

Recently, we had a wedding in our family taking place in England because this is where the bride and groom immediate families live.  However, the extended families and a number of friends live outside the UK and in many instances, they needed visas to get in.  Once wedding invitations were sent out, a major flurry began in a number of countries with friends and relatives calling us asking for help with the visa applications:

  • They are asking for invitation letters
  • They are asking for financial statements
  • They are asking for proof of return tickets
  • They are asking for pounds of flesh!

On and on the calls streamed from concerned would be wedding guests and we apologised again and again and asked them to be patient and go through due process.  Finally, it came to applying for a visa for my elderly 87 year old mother who is the matriarch of our family and whose name the bride was given at birth and therefore, the guest of honour at the wedding.

Due to her advanced age and frail health, we made sure we booked her business class return ticket, we arranged for my brother and his wife to travel with her and look after her, we sent her for full medical check up and got approval from her physician to fly, we stocked up on her medication, we prepared a special bedroom for her at our house, we assured her she would not be away for more than two weeks and that the weather in England would be warm enough.  Then a colleague from work and I went on line to fill the application.  What a nightmare!

The questions were random and irritating at best and down right stupid at worst.  They asked for the usual stuff of name, address, occupation, reasons for travel etc.  But, they also asked for date of birth and for parents’ dates of birth but, given the age of the individual being 87, the application system did not allow for the fact that the parents would be dead by now or would have been over 120 years of age were they to be alive.  However, the system did not go far enough in the 1800s to allow us to put real dates of birth.  The entire process took over 3 hours to complete.

We were then instructed to go to another website to book an appointment to submit the application in person at a high security location somewhere in the country of application, not the British Embassy itself.  We were instructed to print out the completed application and warned us to make sure we had the part that had the bar code on it otherwise our application would be void and we would lose the fees.

The appointment date arrived and my brother took my mother to the appointment so she could be seen to sign the application in front of a “human being”.  This place is a local company contracted by the British Embassy to handle the unwashed natives because embassy staff are above these things!  Unfortunately, this company recruited local village idiots too who insisted on my mother walking through various security gates and check points on her own to the inner sanctum of the room where she would be witnessed signing the application.  My brother was not going to have any of it and made enough fuss to finally be allowed to go inside with her.  He handed the application, together with invitation letters, wedding invitations, copies of air tickets, pictures, all her previous expired passports, showing that she had visited the UK on many occasions over the last 35 years and she always left the country without causing mayhem, together with various other supporting documentations to reassure them the purpose of her visit was to attend the wedding and come home.  The staff at this centre were highly trained to take your application, including any supporting evidence, even if it included a poodle dog, a washing machine and a roasted leg of lamb, shove the entire lot in a large envelope and give you a receipt.  They carry out no validation whatsoever other than to witness you signing the damned application.

Three weeks later, we received an email stating that a decision regarding our visa application had been made and that we should allow 48 hours before attempting to collect the results from the local handling centre.  Two days later, someone was sent with a proxy letter from my mother stating he could collect her application on her behalf.  He returned with the fat envelope and after rummaging through the contents, we found the current passport with no visa in it.  In amongst all the paper work, we found a pre-printed statement from the British Embassy informing my mother her application had been declined because of one of the following reasons:

  1. You may have no intention to return to your country of origin and attempt to remain in the UK
  2. You may be seeking medical treatment at the expense of the state
  3. You may attempt to seek employment while in the UK

They then helpfully suggested that we could appeal the decision.

Why, British Embassy do you ask for details such as age of applicant (87 in this case) and then proceed to reasonably assume they may be attempting to seek free medical attention, presumably because of the old age, but still fit enough and employable enough to go out and attempt to get a job as a plumber or a nightclub bouncer or worse, head of the Civil Service?  I can only conclude that the person put in charge of visa application is at best a village idiot who has a brain default setting of refusing visa applications on the basis that every “Johnny Foreigner” is a threat to the state.

Next Instalment in the next blog; it gets worse!

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