UK Border Agency computer failure leaves thousands unable to travel

Alan Travis writes in The Guardian:

Having probably queued to get into Britain, thousands of overseas residents, including senior business people and academics, now face the prospect of being unable to leave the country, possibly for weeks, because a key UK border agency computer system has crashed.

Hundreds of people queueing at UKBA’s public inquiry office in Croydon, applying to extend or renew biometric residence permits, were told to go home on Thursday because the computer system could not cope.

The details of more than 600,000 foreign nationals living in Britain have been logged on the biometric residents’ identity card database since it was set up four years ago.

But it has suffered repeated failures in recent weeks which culminated in a complete breakdown on Thursday. All afternoon appointments have now been cancelled for the next two weeks.