Delays with Home Office: its impact on life and business

Delays with Home Office: its impact on life and business

19th July @ 17:00 – 19:00

The Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, 1 Victoria Embankment, SW1A 2JR

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On July 19th, CEFTUS and, in partnership with Penriths and QuaLegal, hosted an insightful parliamentary event titled “Delays with Home Office: Its Impact on Life and Business.” The event was held at the Boothroyd Room, Portcullis House, with the aim of addressing the prolonged delays faced by ECAA visa applicants and the broader implications for individuals and businesses.

The discussion was chaired by Christian Wakeford, Labour MP for Bury South, and featured a panel of distinguished speakers, including Stephen Kinnock, Shadow Minister for Immigration; Ali R. Arslan, Entrepreneur and Start-up Mentor; May Bulman, Social Affairs Correspondent for The Independent; Fizza Qureshi, CEO of Migrants’ Rights Network; and Hakan Elbir, Founder of Dialogue in the Dark.

The event began with Christian Wakeford acknowledging the significant impact of Home Office delays on various sectors of society, particularly focusing on visas, passports, and immigration. He emphasized the importance of addressing these delays to mitigate their adverse effects on life and business.

Fizza Qureshi presented the findings of a newly launched report titled “Life on Hold: The Consequences of Home Office Delays for ECAA Visa Holders.” The report highlighted the severe impact of prolonged delays, with some individuals waiting up to two years for a decision. Key findings included the financial losses suffered by businesses, the emotional and mental toll on individuals and families, and the broader societal implications. Qureshi called for the prioritization of cases pending beyond six months and suggested financial compensation for those affected.

Hakan Elbir shared his personal journey as a visa holder and entrepreneur. He founded Dialogue in the Dark, a social inclusion project employing visually impaired individuals. Elbir recounted the challenges he faced due to visa delays, including being stuck in Turkey for six months due to travel restrictions, which forced him to vacate his London apartment and disrupted his business operations. He emphasized the transformative impact of his social enterprise on disabled individuals and the broader community.

Ali R. Arslan discussed the broader implications of Home Office delays on start-ups and innovation in the UK. He highlighted the irony of the Turkish Businessperson visa, which restricts travel, thereby hampering international business operations and growth. Arslan criticized the rationale behind the travel ban for pending visa applications and called for practical solutions to facilitate business activities.

May Bulman provided a journalistic perspective on the issue, sharing examples of how media coverage can sometimes expedite Home Office decisions. She emphasized the systemic nature of the delays and the broader implications for individuals across various visa categories. Bulman called for a reevaluation of Home Office processes to ensure timely and fair decision-making.

During the Q&A session, attendees expressed their concerns and shared personal experiences, highlighting the widespread frustration and hardship caused by the delays. Suggestions for improving the situation included implementing a fast-track system, prioritizing long-pending cases, and removing travel restrictions for pending visa applicants.

In his closing remarks, Christian Wakeford acknowledged the significant human and economic costs of the delays and expressed his commitment to raising these issues with government officials. He encouraged attendees to continue advocating for change and to utilize all available channels, including legal avenues and media coverage, to highlight the urgency of the situation.

The event concluded with a consensus on the need for pragmatic solutions and increased accountability within the Home Office to address the ongoing delays and their detrimental impact on individuals and businesses. CEFTUS and its partners pledged to continue their advocacy efforts to ensure that the voices of those affected are heard and that meaningful changes are implemented.


Stephen Kinnock, Shadow Minister (Home Office)

Labour MP for Aberavon and currently shadow minister for Immigration.

Ali R. Arslan, Entrepreneur & Start-up Mentor

The impact of Home Office delays on Britain’s start-ups & innovation culture

May Bulman, The Independent’s Social Affairs Correspondent

She won the Anti-Slavery Day award for Best News piece in both 2017 and 2019. In January 2022 she wrote “Thousands of Turkish nationals in Britain trapped in limbo due to Home Office delays”

Fizza Qureshi, CEO of Migrants’ Rights Network

Migrants’ Rights Network did a ECAA visa delay campaign and survey in April 2022. Fizza will talk about findings of the survey results, and what they will do next.

Hakan Elbir, Founder of Dialogue in the Dark

Journey of an ECAA visa holder employing more than 30 blind and deaf people.


Christian Wakeford

Labour MP for Bury South

Special thanks…. to the following volunteers, who are all ECAA visa holders, for making this event reach the masses:

Ibrahim Sarica, MetaCampus Founder

(Event will be broadcast in the MetaVerse the next day!)

Ferhat Elik, Photography:

Gokhan Goksoy, Video: