Stephen has written to the Home Secretary, Theresa May, questioning plans to reduce the number of staff at the VFS Global Application Centre in Mumbai. Stephen’s letter followed an announcement by the government that it plans to downsize its operations at the centre from seventy members of staff to twenty. A majority of decision-making powers are being transferred to New Delhi too.

The Mumbai centre processes applications for people wanting to travel to the UK, some of whom may be visiting relatives in Newham. Stephen made clear his concerns that applicants wanting to visit family members in East Ham – one of the most diverse constituencies in the UK – may be subject to delays. He asked the Home Secretary for reassurance that the government’s plans would not effect the speed and accuracy of decisions on visa applications.

Speaking about the plans, Stephen said:  “The government’s plans are short-sighted. 

“I regularly meet constituents at my advice surgeries whose relatives have pending applications at the visa centre in Mumbai . These cuts may lead to significant delays which could cause significant difficulties for those wanting to visit relatives - some of whom will be ill or elderly - here in East Ham.

“I hope the Home Secretary will provide me with an assurance that the speed and accuracy of decisions for visa applications will not be negatively impacted by these cuts.”

To view the letter in full, please click here.

UPDATE: You can read the Immigration Minister's response here.

AuthorStephen Timms