Thursday 12 July 2012

Chaos at Visa Application Centre in Mirpur ahead of Immigration Rules Change

MIRPUR: There was a chaotic scene in Mirpur on Friday 6th July 2012 which was the last day to submit visa applications before changes in Immigration Rules were introduced by UKBA on the 9th of July. 7th and 8th of July were Saturday and Sunday respectively (holidays), so the 6th was the final day to submit applications before the new rules applied.

Many people wanted to submit their applications ahead of the changes to Immigration Rules and as a result of this, there were too many people turning up on the day asking to be allowed to submit their application despite not having booked an appointment. Appointments were all booked out many days in advance, even at other venues such as Lahore and Islamabad. 

There was a real scene outside Fedex Gerry's Visa centre in Mirpur, Azad Kashmir. Although there is a VIP appointment that can be booked where you pay 3,000 Rs. to get immediate entry into the application centre, there were too many people that turned up on the day, desperate to submit their visa application.

According to sources, some people paid up to 50,000 Rs to get into the centre to submit their application on the day. There were at least 50 people waiting to get in and they started to cause trouble so the Police was called to calm the situation and Geo TV and JK News Reporters also arrived at the site. Raja Zahoor Arif of Dadyal Online was present in Mirpur at the time and witnessed the chaotic situation. One of the key changes to the Immigration Rules is: 'introducing a new minimum income threshold of £18,600 for sponsoring the settlement in the UK of a spouse or partner.' In other words, if you wish to call your spouse to the UK, then you must be in employment and earning a salary above £18,600. People in Azad Kashmir are concerned that this requirement will make it much harder for them to sponsor relatives and make visa applications more difficult, hence the rush at the Mirpur Centre on the last day before changes were introduced to Immigration Rules by UKBA. 

Reported by Raja Zahoor Arif & Written by Sameer Hussain

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