A computer crash at the UK Border Agency at the end of last week has meant that thousands of overseas residents might be unable to leave the country for at least the next few weeks.
Hundreds of folks queuing at the Border Agency office in Croydon, who were applying to extend or renew residence permits, were sent home last Thursday after the computer system flopped.
The UKBA's system has apparently been glitching over the last few weeks, and finally came to a grinding halt. Apparently, all afternoon appointments have been cancelled over the next fortnight, and alternative appointments are all booked up for three weeks solid.
Maria Patsalos of Mishcon de Reya told the Guardian: "It's just madness at the moment. We have had chief executives caught up in this who can't understand why it is so backward. It's also affecting major investors. There are big problems with the computer system which crashes continually. These are often high net worth people who need to be able to travel. It is a complete mess that is getting worse."
A UK Border Agency spokesman confirmed there were IT issues at the Croydon office, which were being resolved as swiftly as possible.
He said: "In order to complete cases that have been affected, we will be reducing the number of daily appointments until 18 May. We will prioritise completing all outstanding applications and those with cancelled appointments can rebook through the UKBA website or can submit postal applications using our postal service."
While it's possible to apply by post, the application process is lengthy when conducted in this manner.
Source: The Guardian