Withers LLP were invited to be the sole subject of a trial of the new in-country electronic streamlined application process.
On 16 July Tracy Evlogidis, with other senior immigration lawyers, attended a Business User Forum where the Home Office unveiled revolutionary planned changes for the in-country and overseas visa application processes.
It is intended that from September 2018 the Home Office will be rolling out a simpler, digitized application process. It is intended that applications for UK visas will be submitted online with individuals being invited to attend kiosks (for those submitted overseas) or enhanced service points (for those submitted in the UK) in order to upload their documents electronically for submission to the Home Office. Depending on the level of service chosen, individuals will then need to attend a Premium Service Centre or a local post office to enrol their biometric information. It will no longer be necessary to submit original documents (including original passports) to the Home Office for applications to be processed.
As part of this trial Withers LLP submitted a client's Tier 2 (work authorisation) extension application online paying all the required fees. Our client's documents were then scanned and sent to the Home Office electronically for processing. Once the application had been considered in principal and approve subject to their biometric data being provided, the Home Office sent an invite for our client to attend the Premium Service Centre in Croydon with their passports to have the required biometric information taken.
The entire process took just a few days and our client, an international businessman who needs to travel frequently, is delighted that it took so little time.
The idea is that the new application process will be more efficient and streamlined allowing UK visa applications to be decided within quicker time frames. This has certainly been our experience with the trial.