Entry Clearance Managers

Provided below is some information from a job advert * concerning the role and functions of an Entry Clearance Manager (ECM). 

In ordinary organisation and business internal hierarchies such a managerial post has powers and activity areas/remits that are much greater than lower level staff. However, the model of Hostile Environment implementation that has been developed within the cross-departments and multi-agency leads in the upper echelons of Whitehall, has involved the most senior strategic leads bypassing middle management (ECMs) to give where required support and direction to the excessively powerful [with minimal to no accountability, and transparency on their case-level activity] ECOs and UKVI Caseworkers. 

We include below an example of this taken from a real case: it shows how disempowered UKVI middle managers/ECMs are (whilst sometimes providing important alerts on bad customer care by ECOs) and their interventions overridden by the high level/Whitehall directed architects and protectors of the Hostile Environment, and their excessively powerful ECO direct implementers of the later.

The ECM review noted significant failings of the ECO who turned down the application (the main grounds being lack of clarity on financial related criteria, that changes to the Rules had caused to make it easy for the wrong information to be provided) in regard to handling of the case including flippant treatment concerning a key aspect of Article 8 of the ECHR, and lack of a full and balanced assessment of the Appellant’s compelling circumstances.’   These are major breaches of professionalism.  The ECM review wished to give the applicant an opportunity to resubmit the application to provide clarity on the financial requirement area. However, London UKVI/Whitehall apparently directed that the decision be maintained to just turn down the application without resubmission.  This was an LGBT case, and we know in other [non-LGBT] cases that the UKVI actually can contact back to clarify points for new information and resubmission, on applications already sent in: there is in regard to unstated target populations a very different, inferior type of treatment by the UKVI. 

In the above however, the main point emerging is the powerlessness of ECM’s and ECM reviews – which are noted but effectively ignored.  Originally, until under the Hostile Environment this was changed, ECM’s and ECM reviews of badly handled cases of their, in pre-Hostile Environment UK Immigration subordinate ECOs, constituted important safeguards against unprofessionalism by ECOs of the types noted in the excerpts above.  However, under the Hostile Environment’s 45,000+ changes to the Rules, such safeguards were stripped out, leaving ECMs and ECM reviews without power, and the direct ECO to UKVI operational leads interconnection, established.

Middle management / ECM disempowerment is a key component of the Hostile Environment strategy, NOT an accidental one.


Below we provide information about an ECM post job opportunity.  Areas of particular importance & significance are indicated in italics – including an equality statement and reference to the top secret (supressed from public and parliamentary scrutiny) ‘operating mandate.’ 

There are many points of importance in the job description, especially those around providing an effective response to changing demands and priorities – this indicates central/London-Whitehall directives, which would involve acting to, amongst other Hostile Environment areas of action, implement refusal quotas against target population groups.

The crucial eligibility criteria is included at the end of the job description and is restricted to White British Commonwealth and [White] EU countries and the USA ONLY!  This constitutes indirect (possibly Direct) discrimination on grounds of race (perceived institutional racism), and contrasts markedly with the equality & diversity policy statement at the beginning of the job post description. As throughout the Hostile Environment customer care, equality and professional standards related policy statements differ markedly with Hostile Environment implementation at operational level.

* https://fco.tal.net/vx/mobile-0/appcentre-ext/brand-0/candidate/so/pm/4/pl/1/opp/4157-Entry-Clearance-Manager-PTA17/en-GB 

View Vacancy – Entry Clearance Manager, PTA17

The British Government is an inclusive and diversity-friendly employer.  We value difference, promote equality and challenge discrimination, enhancing our organisational capability. We welcome and encourage applications from people of all backgrounds. We do not discriminate on the basis of disability, race, colour, ethnicity, gender, religion, sexual orientation, age, veteran status or other category protected by law. We promote family-friendly flexible working opportunities, where operational and security needs allow.

The Role:

The position holder will be responsible for managing in a way that enhances the performance and develops the potential of all staff within the department; preventing immigration abuse; protecting integrity of the systems; bringing communities together; and improving the UK’s competitiveness as a destination for travel, trade, migration & investment.

Main Duties and Responsibilities:

  • To manage resources and oversee processes to ensure that visa applications are assessed and reviewed to a high standard of decision quality; that Customer Service Standards are met;  and that the UKVI Operating Mandate is adhered to.
  • To motivate and support visa section staff through effective line management, by providing practical guidance; clear goals; ensuring regular constructive dialogue; and open communication.
  • To promote and uphold high professional standards endorsed by personal example. Encourage individual responsibility for maintaining the overall professionalism and integrity of the Visa Section.
  • To ensure all management controls are  in place and checks are carried out in accordance with Best Practice guidelines.
  • To manage resources proactively to  ensure an effective response to changing demands and priorities.

Essential qualifications, skills and experience  

  • Previous immigration experience, either operational or legal 
  • Excellent communication skills (both written and oral) in English.
  • A working knowledge of IT, including Microsoft Word and Excel
  • The ability to work as part of a team and be adaptable to new working methods.
  • The ability to prioritise work effectively when under pressure.

Desirable qualifications, skills and experience  

  • Experience of working in a large scale operational environment

Required competencies  

Seeing the Big Picture, Changing and Improving, Leading and Communicating, Managing a Quality Service

Application deadline:   15 September 2017

Grade:    C4 (L)

Type of Position:    Fixed Term

Duration of Post:   24 months

Region:    Africa

Country/Territory:    South Africa

Location (City):   Pretoria

Type of Post:    British High Commission

Number of vacancies:    1

Starting monthly salary (ZAR)  

R38 398.77 paid 13 times per year plus R9881.87 recruitment and retention allowance paid 12 times per year

Start Date:   1 November 2017

Other benefits and conditions of employment  

  • The British High Commission pays in full for the Key Care Plus option on Discovery Health for staff including spouses/partners and dependants.
  • Once you have successfully completed your probation the British High Commission will contribute 9 % of your monthly salary to a Provident Fund.
  • Annual leave entitlement of 25 days
  • Working hours per week of 36.5

Learning and development opportunities: (and any specific training courses to be completed):

Attendance of a UK delivered Entry Clearance Manager course, and, if appropriate, a UK delivered Entry Clearance Officer course.

This will need to be passed before confirmation of employment.

Additional information  

  • Please complete the application form in full as the information provided is used during screening.
  • Please check your application carefully before you submit, as no changes can be made once submitted.
  • The British High Commission will never request any payment or fees to apply for a position. 
  • Employees recruited locally by the British High Commission in Pretoria are subject to Terms and Conditions of Service according to local employment law in South Africa. 
  • All candidates must be legally able to work and reside in the country of the vacancy with the correct visa/work permit status or demonstrate eligibility to obtain the relevant permit.
  • The responsibility lies on the successful candidate to;
  1. Obtain the relevant permit
  2. Pay fees for the permit
  3. Make arrangements to relocate
  4. Meet the costs to relocation 
  • The British High Commission do not sponsor visas/work permits except where it may be local practice to do so.  
  • Employment will be subject to obtaining the appropriate security clearance.  Please note that only nationals of UK, EU countries, USA, Canada, Australia, New Zealand are likely to meet this requirement*.  

* This crucial eligibility criteria is included at the end and is restricted to White British Commonwealth and [White] EU countries and the USA ONLY!  This constitutes indirect (possibly Direct) discrimination on grounds of race, and contrasts markedly with the equality & diversity policy statement at the beginning of the job post description.