4 February 2015
The Home Office is rolling out Biometric Resident Permits (BRPs) to those applying for UK visas from abroad. The new regulations will see all non-EEA visa applicants (applying to reside in the UK for longer than six months) issued with a BRP as proof of their UK immigration status instead of a visa affixed to their travel document.
These biometric documents (similar in size to a credit card) are already issued ‘in-country’ to those migrants applying to extend or alter their existing immigration status. This next move will see the same process being adopted ‘out of country’ to those non-EEA nationals applying from overseas to enter the United Kingdom for longer than six months.
The initiative will be rolled out in phases country by country over a four month period starting in March 2015. We are advised that Delhi will be one of the first British posts to trial this new process.
How will this work in practice?
The UK visa application process will remain much the same except that, instead of having a visa vignette affixed to the visa holder’s passport or travel document showing the full leave period granted, the applicant will receive a 30 day short-term travel vignette which enables them to travel to the UK and subsequently collect their BRP on arrival in the UK.
The Home office announcement indicates that the issued BRP must be collected from a designated UK based Post Office within 10 days of a holder’s arrival in the country. We await further clarity from the authorities as to whether collection must specifically be made in person or whether a delivery service will be made available.
How will the roll-out affect employers?
- Right to work checks will most likely be affected. We anticipate the possible need for employers to undertake a secondary right to work check for those migrant workers who commence employment immediately upon arrival in the UK ahead of receiving their BRP.
- The authorities are quick to point out that this new regulation will have no bearing upon visa application fees as the introduction of overseas BRP applications will not lead to an increase in visa filing fees. All employers should, however, be mindful of the fact that a general revision of all visa application fees is still expected to take place in April of this year.
For more information on this topic, contact your Smith Stone Walters Immigration Consultant today for advice specific to your immigration needs.