People from overseas living in the north-east will now be forced to make a 200-mile round trip to use biometric services to apply for immigration documents.
Aberdeen Post Office on Union Street is the only branch in the region which offers biometric enrolment services, which collects iris scans and fingerprints for the Home Office.
These are needed by people applying for a visa to live or work in the UK, and by refugees without passports who want to travel abroad.
But the Post Office has announced that the service in Aberdeen will be stopping at the start of February when ownership of the branch is transferred to WH Smith.
In a letter to customers outlining the priority “to ensure that we provide services that will meet customer needs”, the firm’s head of sales said that the nearest branch to get biometrics scanned will be in Inverness.
The move has been criticised for providing “extra hoops” that people wishing to move here must jump through.
One north-east man, who is currently assisting his Australian wife through the process, has branded it “ridiculous”.
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The man, who did not want to be named, said: “When you apply for a visa it costs almost £2,400 and then you have to pay for the Life in the UK citizenship test which is another £50 – and you have to travel to Edinburgh or Glasgow for that.
“And by taking the biometric service away from Aberdeen it is just making it even more expensive. It’s crazy.”
He added: “It only takes five minutes, it’s not a big deal.
“It’s not as if it’s taking a member of staff half an hour to do.”
A Post Office spokeswoman said the biometric service it offers is the only one which cannot be automatically transferred to a franchise.
She added: “This service is currently available nationwide by agreement with the Home Office, and is provided through a mix of directly managed and WH Smith branch locations.
“The Home Office recently awarded a new contract for this service to another supplier and it has been announced that our role in this is coming to an end in November, although we are discussing supporting the Home Office until March 2019.”
Aberdeen Central MSP Kevin Stewart said: “It is absurd that people are expected to make 200+ mile round trips just to have their fingerprints taken.
“Our city has thrived from international influence and would be poorer if that were diminished.
“If the UK Government insists on collecting biometric data then they need to make it easy to provide.”
The Home Office was asked for information about where biometrics services will be stationed in the future, but did not respond.