by Laurie Anstis on April 5, 2012
Which government agency has just lauched its “premium customer service” scheme – where for a payment of £25,000 a year its users can get “priority access to appointments”, a “named licence manager”, “invitation to premium events” and “priority treatment on requests you make”, amongst other benefits?
It’s the UK Border Agency, whose premium customer service scheme has just come into operation. A-rated sponsors who pay the fee will:
“- be defined as A (Premium) on the register of sponsors;
- have a named licence manager within the UK Border Agency;
- have a senior account manager within the UK Border Agency;
- receive priority treatment on requests made after receiving a licence, such as changes of circumstances;
- receive 50 pre-paid checks using the online employer checking service (from May 2012); and
- are invited to premium sponsor events.”
Migrants sponsored by such organisations will gain:
“- immediate passport returns for postal applications;
- priority access to appointments at public enquiry offices in the UK; and
- guaranteed access to priority and premium services overseas.”
There is also a separate premium service for SMEs.
I have mixed feelings about this. The UK Border Agency has been hard-hit by recent cuts, so it is not surprising that it is taking the oportunity to raise money while it can, and some sponsors will be more than willing to pay for this enhanced level of service.
However, I’m not entirely comfortable with the idea that people can jump the queue for applications, and receive special treatment, just because their sponsor has paid a premium fee.
I wonder if we will see more government agencies operating this kind of scheme in the future?