Home Office chaos is causing passport misery, says MP

Friday 17th June 2022 7:30 am
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Liz Saville Roberts MP by UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor
Liz Saville Roberts MP ( UK Parliament/Jessica Taylor )

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MP Liz Saville Roberts has called on the UK Home Office to ‘come clean’ about their responsibility for the monumental backlog in passport processing which has disappointed holiday makers and prevented keyworkers from travelling for work.

Raising the issue during in the House of Commons, Mrs Saville Roberts cited the case of a Meirionnydd constituent who serves as a crew member on a commercial vessel, and reliant on his passport for travel with work. An 11-week delay in processing his passport application led to the seafarer missing his scheduled vessel departure and was warned that his pay would be docked if his lack of passport resulted in him being unavailable to travel for work.

The MP is also dealing with the case of a constituent who made a 508-mile round trip from Pen Llŷn to Durham passport office, waiting outside the building overnight to secure an early appointment the next day to collect his passport.

Speaking in the House of Commons, Mrs Saville Roberts said: “I am sure the Hon. Gentleman will join me in his dismay in learning that a professional seafarer from my constituency was forced to miss the crew change on his vessel having waited for eleven weeks to receive a replacement for a damaged passport simply because of this government’s inefficiency. This is a professional seafarer – a key worker – forced to miss his crew change. This not just about holidays, it is affecting people professionally as well.

“The Home Office blames most of the delays on a sudden increase in demand, which is absurd given that this situation was entirely predictable ahead of summer, with many looking forward to their first proper holiday since the pandemic.

This chaos not only denies hard working families across Dwyfor Meirionnydd a well-deserved holiday – costing them thousands of pounds in losses, but more pressingly, it also prevents people from working and earning a living. The Home Office needs to urgently get a grip of the situation.

“I have raised these issues directly with government Ministers, and my team and I are doing all we can to support local constituents affected by these significant delays, pressing for the swift resolution of outstanding cases. I advise anyone looking to travel abroad and who needs a new passport to send their application in as far in advance of travelling as they possibly can.”

Boris Johnson previously told Parliament passports were being issued within four to six weeks of an application, despite evidence of people waiting well-over eleven weeks and longer.

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