Prior to the outset of the situation in Ukraine it was possible to lodge visa applications using various priority services offered by the Home Office. However, as a result of the situation in Ukraine, a number of Home Office caseworkers have been taken off of their normal duties and reassigned to deal with Ukrainian nationals making urgent applications to the UK. All priority services have been temporarily suspended, with no indication of when the service will be reinstated.
Clearly there is now a growing backlog of applications and there has been no indication from the Home Office of when the situation will return to normal. It is likely that the current arrangements will have a significant impact on processing times for visas of all types for the foreseeable future.
In light of the delays outlined above, we would advise those who are intending to lodge a visa application to carefully consider their planned date of arrival to the UK and plan accordingly. Prospective applicants should consider beginning the application process as soon as is practical, and should begin collating any information or supporting documentation that may be necessary well in advance of the intended application date. Additionally, employers should notify any employees and teams who may be affected as soon as possible that their visas may be delayed and that start dates or work arrangements may be impacted accordingly.