UK Visas &
Immigration –
what’s changing?

The Home Office department UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) has teamed up with a new provider of enquiry services, Sitel UK. The new supplier is handling both in and out of country enquiries regarding UK immigration applications, whilst in-house UKVI teams are dealing with escalations and other queries.

As a result, contacting UKVI about your visa application is now a chargeable service (from 1 June 2017), and a number of others changes have been made which you should be aware of.

How is the service different?

  • All phone numbers and opening hours have changed
  • The number of languages offered (including English) has reduced to eight
  • Both telephone and email enquiries made to UKVI regarding an out of country application or enquiry are now chargeable

How much does an enquiry cost?
The charges which apply only to those contacting UKVI from outside of the UK are as follows:

  • £1.37 per minute for calls to the helpline in addition to the standard network charge
  • £5.48 per email enquiry (this will cover all subsequent emails relating to the enquiry)

Why do these charges only apply to out of country enquiries?
The charges are intended to ensure that those who use and benefit from the UK’s immigration system make a financial contribution towards it.

How will payment for email enquiries be made?
Payment for email contact will be requested online via debit or credit card before the electronic enquiry (via web message) can be made.

Will these changes affect sponsor licence holders who use the premium customer service?
No. The service provided to sponsors by the premium customer service team remains unchanged and premium sponsor organisations can continue to use this service in the usual way.

Our continued service
Smith Stone Walters will continue to communicate with the UKVI in respect of client visa applications and will adjust our disbursement fee where applicable to cover the new Home Office charges for out of country submissions.

Contact your Smith Stone Walters adviser for more information on the new UKVI charges and how they could affect your application or organisation.

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