How we will deal with your complaint
This page explains what will happen after you have made a complaint about our service or professional conduct. It also tells you what you can do if you are not happy with how we have handled your complaint.
Your complaint will be managed by one of our customer service units (CSUs). They are responsible for ensuring that your complaint is resolved in a satisfactory and timely manner. We will send you an acknowledgement, telling you which CSU is dealing with your complaint.
We aim to give a full response within 20 working days. If your complaint alleges serious professional misconduct by our staff or people working for us, it may take up to 12 weeks for a detailed, independent investigation to be completed. We may contact you during an investigation for further information.
If you make a very serious complaint related to our officers' use of police-like powers in England and Wales, we will refer this to the Independent Police Complaints Commission (IPCC). The IPCC has a remit to oversee certain serious complaints relating to the exercise of our immigration, asylum and customs functions. The IPCC's remit includes some contractors who carry out enforcement functions on our behalf.
If you have made a complaint about serious professional misconduct, the investigators will tell you the outcome. Their letter will tell you who to contact if you are still dissatisfied.
If you are not happy with how your complaint has been handled
If you do not think your complaint has been dealt with correctly, you can ask us to review the matter.
The CSU will review whether your complaint has been dealt with properly. It will tell you its findings within 20 working days of the date when you ask for a review.
If you are not satisfied with the customer service unit's response, you can ask a UK Member of Parliament (MP) to raise your concern with the Parliamentary Ombudsman. If you are a visa applicant outside the UK and you have a sponsor in the UK, you can ask your sponsor to raise your case with their MP. Before you contact an MP, the Parliamentary Ombudsman expects you to have completed our complaints process above, unless there are exceptional reasons why you have not done so. You can find MPs' contact details on the UK Parliament website.
The UK Border Agency is also overseen by the Prisons and Probation Ombudsman (PPO). If you are detained in an immigration removal centre and you are unhappy with the way we have dealt with your complaint, you can report your complaint to the PPO. Before contacting the PPO, you must first have taken your complaint through our own complaints process.
The Police Complaints Commissioner for Scotland (PCCS) has a remit to oversee our handling of complaints in Scotland. If you have made a complaint related to the use of enforcement powers by an officer exercising immigration and/or asylum functions, and you are not happy with the way that we have investigated your complaint, you can appeal to the PCCS.
What happens after your complaint has been dealt with
We want to learn from complaints and to improve the service we provide to our customers wherever possible. We may, for example, consider making adjustments to the process that led to your complaint. We may also consider giving our staff extra training or, in serious cases, taking disciplinary action.
If you can show that you have suffered financial loss as a direct result of an error we have made, you may be able to claim reimbursement of the costs you have incurred. We will only consider reimbursing you for these costs if they were reasonable, unavoidable and a direct consequence of our actions - and you will need to provide evidence such as original receipts.
In exceptional circumstances not involving financial loss, we will consider whether a consolatory payment may be appropriate.