Sopra Steria no longer provides immigration consultation services
The outsourcing company Sopra Steria, which is responsible for processing visa applications filed in the UK, has stopped offering immigration counselling to its applicants after numerous complaints from solicitors.
The UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services, acting on behalf of the Home office through French company Sopra Steria, advertised legal assistance to visa applicants for a separate fee. They recommended a company, World Migration Services, which is owned by BLS International. It is worth to mention that BLS itself handles the processing of visas applications as a subcontractor of Sopra Steria.
The Immigration Law Practitioners' Association (ILPA) has repeatedly raised the issue that such cooperation can be considered as a potential conflict of interest, and may give applicants the impression that their applications will be treated more favourably if they use services of a company, which is directly involved to the visa application process. Moreover, World Migration Services is located at 20 Mark Lane in the City of London, which is in fact, in the same place as the visa application centre.
ILPA confirmed that Sopra Steria terminated its contract with BLS International. Their website no longer contains links to BLS or its logo, and they no longer offer immigration advice services.
Starting from 2 November 2018, the Home Office launched a new visa application system in the UK through the French company Sopra Steria. Applicants have to fill out an application online, visit one of the visa application centres and scan the supporting documents. Both applicants and officials several times raise concerns about effectiveness of Sopra Steria. In spring 2019, the Home Office even had to officially apologise for the lack of slots to visit visa centres.
Posted on Jul 04, 2019.