New service for applicants applying for work or study visas in the UK

November 2, 2018

The Immigration Minister Caroline Nokes announced details of the outsourcing of the visa application process to Sopra Steria for migrants applying for a work, study visa, settlement or citizenship from within the UK. It is anticipated the new system will be rolled out in November/December 2018.

The Home Office are currently going through a process of modernising application forms for most types of applications filed from within the UK including: Tier 2 work visas, Tier 4 student visas, Tier 1 investor, settlement and citizenship applications. Traditionally once the application form is submitted online and the associated fees are paid a biometric appointment must be booked. Applicants then need to either:

1. Attend a visa application centre to submit their biometric data and deliver their documents to the Home Office; or
2. Submit their application with documents by post and attend a Post Office to submit their biometric data as requested by the Home Office

The application process will now be further streamlined:
• Once applicants have submitted their application online and made payment of the Home Office fees, they will have the ability to upload all the documents required for the application in advance of a scheduled biometric appointment
• It is anticipated that over 60 locations will be provided for applicants to submit their biometric data and present original documents at places like local libraries. Around 57 libraries have been signed up to the scheme
• All original documents will be checked at the appointment and immediately returned to the applicant who can proceed to take their passport and other original documentation with them
• The application will then be processed by the Home Office after this point
• The new system will replace both the Premium and Priority Postal Services which used to ensure the majority of applications are processed same day or within 10 working days of the Home Office receiving all documentation. It is anticipated that options will be available to pay additional fees for expedited processing times.

Immigration minister Caroline Nokes said of the Sopra deal: “The new streamlined service will make the visa application process quicker and easier to access than ever before for people in the UK, through increasing the use of digital services.”

This article has been produced for general information purposes and further advice should be sought from a professional advisor. Immigration is a complex area of law for both corporates and individuals. Please contact our Immigration Law / Employment Team at Cleaver Fulton Rankin for further advice or information.

Conor McCrory, Associate, Immigration Law Team, Cleaver Fulton Rankin, Solicitors.