Have you ever wondered what could possibly be more bureaucratic than a Certificate of Sponsorship and its allocation and assignment? Ever ask yourself what a “fee referencing number” is? Let me tell you.
A fee referencing number is a number which the UKBA routinely produces once the relevant fee for an application has been deducted against an applicant’s account (or whoever is paying, usually a nice uncle or aunt in a domestic violence case). Similarly, the UKBA also produces Home Office case numbers, application case numbers and case IDs in association with any given application. However, not every subject will have all these numbers. For example, an overstayer who arrived on a visit visa in 2004 and never applied for leave to remain in the UK may have no such number(s) on his IS 151A, IS 151B or removal directions.
But the fee referencing number is more than just a number which the UKBA produces with respect to fees. It is a number which the UKBA uses to make its notorious existence even more bureaucratic. What you see on the UKBA’s website is just the tip of the iceberg.
When an applicant requests their MP to make submissions on their behalf to the UKBA, the SSHD will require the fee referencing number even if the MP provides them with the applicant’s (a) address; (b) name; (c) date of birth; (d) Home Office number; (e) case ID; and (f) case number. Even if an MP provides the items listed (a) – (f) above, the UKBA will reject the MP’s Convention based submissions in relation to an applicant living in their constituency. Instead, the UKBA will demand the fee referencing number to consider the MP’s submissions if the MP plans to make further written representations. Without the fee referencing number the MP’s submissions will be rejected (but not refused!).
Rebuked by the UKBA, the MP will approach the applicant again and request them for their fee referencing number and warn them of “the problem of approaching the UKBA for compassion without a fee referencing number”. To say the very least, the insanity here is striking. When someone is being deported to die in Afghanistan or Iraq, rather than exercising clemency, the UKBA demands a fee referencing number in addition to (a) – (f) above to consider an MP’s Article 2, Article 3 and Article 8 submissions in connection to a person being deported; it seems that the agency maintains this line in order to achieve satisfaction and maximise pleasure.
A good idea to get around all this madness is to write to the minister for immigration prior to submitting an application for leave to remain and by trying to explain the situation to him after submitting the said application. This approach will usually produce a written response, although belatedly, from the minister’s “ministerial correspondence team”. The reply will have a bureaucrat’s email address and one can make these submissions to the said person directly. But the day you ask the minister’s team for the fee referencing number in relation to the application, on that day (without fail) the application shall be refused.
That is the fee referencing number: at least a short summary of it. It’s probably a great idea for immigrants to keep their fee referencing number memorised because the migration machine (the UKBA in our example) uses immigration subjects purely as input to sustain itself and its entropy: this post it just an example of that unfortunate and sad fact.