These are the UK equivalent of the ECOs, the only [to date, known] difference being that these UKVI officers outside of the UK have by definition more remoteness from effective scrutiny, and as the UKVI UK has evidenced in regard to this aspect of the Hostile Environment at operational level, UKVI overseas has a wide-ranging autonomy at ECO and doubtless other levels in how it operated (see passports section of this website LINK). ECO’s also unlike [UK-operating] Caseworkers, have ECAs (Entry Clearance Assistants) helping them with their review of applications. UKVI caseworkers cover both LTR and asylum applications: see — http://needtoknow-immigrationuk.com/asylum/
We know from direct experiences of UKVI Caseworkers handling of applications, interviews with applicants, a little more about the top to bottom dynamics in the UKVI’s Hostile Environment structure
It is important to be aware that in cases that are considered to all intents and purposes as important political ones – that an adverse decision against the applicant, is clearly considered for strategic reasons as essential – irregular communications are made to the caseworker, at for example an asylum case interview with the applicant.
For example in the final signing-off stage of an interview, calls maybe received from clearly very senior levels, to the caseworker, to tell them to put in on the interview form information that is known (on the basis of clear evidence to the contrary) to be not true. The interviewer may, for instance to be directed, despite knowing that it is not the case (through the information and evidence provided during the interview) that the applicant is ‘an overstayer.’
These phone conversations may (as in this example from a UKVI asylum application initial stage interview in the UKVI office in Croydon in April 2018) take place without the applicant being present to hear any dialogue (which may be very undesirable/inconvenient for those communicating to each other) at the point in the interview process, where the interviewer asks the applicant to step outside for a few minutes while they complete their paperwork. When the applicant returns they can find, new, controversial and false/factually untrue details have been added in to the paperwork, and which are clearly new, and matters and topics Not covered in the interview Q&A section.
The .gov.uk website provides no information about such malpractice, so it is important for UKVI service users to be prepared for such abuses of process. We are pleased to provide it here, and do not doubt that it is a malpractice that may be being experienced by others.
Please also see our Working for UK Immigration Hostile Environment implementing services page — http://needtoknow-immigrationuk.com/working-for-uk-immigration-hostile-environment-implementing-services/