Sunday, December 25, 2011

Freedom of Information Request made to the UK Border Agency

To Whom It May Concern:

I would like to issue the following request with regards to the Freedom of Information Act:

I had been enrolled at the IRIS Scheme under my leave to remain granted as a Tier 1 (Post-Study) Work Visa. Upon switching my Visa to Tier 1 (Highly Skilled Migrant) Work visa on [disguised], my enrollment had expired and I was asked to re-register at an IRIS Registration office. Since this date, I have been trying to access an IRIS Registration office but have failed to do so in four to five attempts. I have followed the guidelines on the UKBA website, at the following link (, and finally decided to buy my latest flight to Munich for a flight departing on [disguised] from Heathrow Terminal 5.

I was at the Heathrow Terminal 5 IRIS Registration Office around 4:30 PM on [disguised]. The office was closed and I was told by security personnel that the office had been closed for over 2 months due to relocation of staff members. Even though the website does include a disclaimer that reads "Please note that the IRIS enrolment rooms listed in our 'IRIS scheme definition document' have been superseded. Only the list below is accurate and up to date." I have found the information to be inaccurate for Heathrow Terminal 5.

Could you tell me why this information has been inaccurate for what seems to be at least a period of two months according to the security personnel at Heathrow Terminal 5, Southern Security Gates?

I have also heard from UKBA staff members at the UK Borders, at various airports, that the IRIS scheme was planned to be "phased out"? Is that correct, and if so, why has there been no announcement on any UKBA website, or through other publicly available information sources?

Furthermore, non-EU and non-EEA border control queues at UK airports are often very long. Although, this may be a subjective observation, this has been a subject of public debate as discussed by relevant ministers and the public. In this regard, has the UK Border Agency considered establishing a separate queue for non-EU and non-EEA citizens who are UK-residents? Unfortunately, the time lost at UK Borders by non-EU and non-EEA citizens who are UK-residents and who travel frequently, especially for business purposes, are very valuable. Has the UK Border Agency done any studies on this, and drawn up respective policy proposals?

Finally, is the UK Border Agency aware of the fact that re-registration to IRIS scheme is effectively almost impossible? Why would a UK-resident, who has switched visas have to re-register on the IRIS scheme whilst their biometric information have remained the same? Is there no co-operation between the respective bodies of the UK Border Agency who could integrate the changes in circumstances of residents with their respective registration information, such as that of IRIS registration?

Kind regards.

Omer Cavusoglu