The Digital Age in the Handling of Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals

The UK’s Home Office has announced a £91 million tender for the proposed digitisation of Immigration Visa Applications for visa extensions, settlement and British nationality. These include services such as identity check, capturing of biometrics and the digitisation of supporting evidence. Similarly, the Her Majesty’s Courts and Tribunal Service (HMCTS) has proposed the digitisation of Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals by the introduction of a ‘virtual court room’ for Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals cases. A trial run of a virtual court room is set to commence from October 2017. Given the proposed digitisation of Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals, it is important that you understand the new approach to dealing with Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals and using the correct method to avoid Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals being rendered invalid.

Digitisation of the Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals process

The UK Home Office has proposed a £91 million tender to a digital service provider for the digitisation of the services offered in making Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals. The proposed tender is for an initial three years period with an option for the Home Office to extend the deal for an additional two years.

The services in making Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals that will be digitised include:

  • Identity checks;
  • Capture of biometrics; and
  • Digitisation of supporting evidence.

The purpose for the proposed digitisation is to ensure the secure submission of all data to the Home Office, acting through UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI). UKVI says its ambition is to create a:

“streamlined, digitised and accessible application service, whilst offering a choice for customers in how they experience that service and facilitate opportunities to generate revenue that align with customer demand”. 

In our view, the digitisation of the Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals process is a positive sign that Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals will be dealt with efficiently and at proportionate cost. The Home Office and the UKVI often mishandle large quality of hard copy documents sent to them and/or overlook such hard copy documents, with applicants often arguing that such documents were sent and the Home Office had wrongly refused their application. The digitisation of document transmission would ensure transparency between the documents sent to the Home Office by applicants and the consideration of those documents during the Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals process. Such transmission would ensure that the applicants will receive a digital receipt of all documents they had sent with the application.

Virtual Hearings of Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals

The HMCTS has proposed to introduce the concept of a ‘virtual court room’ in an effort to reduce inconvenience and costs to the applicants of Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals. Such a concept is aimed at providing greater access and flexibility to the services; which include giving evidence by video-link and/or telephone conferencing and are being expanded to provide remote access into the physical court rooms or even into new design of a ‘virtual court room’. Such services are already available and used in the Civil and Criminal courts and are now being proposed to be used in Immigration Tribunals.

It is unclear at this stage whether all applicants of Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals will have access to opt for a virtual hearing as presently the technology is accessible to be sued by victims and vulnerable people  who would find it difficult to appear physically in court. In Immigration Tribunals, such services may be limited to extremely vulnerable asylum seekers, unaccompanied minors and/or victims of domestic abuse.

Currently the judiciary is working with partners from Microsoft to build a prototype for the setting up of a virtual hearing of Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals and it will be available on a trial process from October 2017 in the Immigration Tribunals if deemed suitable by Judges, HMCTS staff, legal professionals and Home Office Presenting Officers.

Adapting to the Digitisation of Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals

It is important to understand and implement the new digital approach to handling Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals as it will ensure that the Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals will be dealt with quicker than the present and numerous delays by the Home Office in dealing with applications and without the opportunity to receive status updates on the progress of Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals.

Our Solicitors and Barristers are trained and well-acquainted with the submission of Immigration  Visa Applications & Appeals using the new digital approach when it is available and can ensure that the Immigration Visa Applications & Appeal are submitted accurately and efficiently with quick and successful decisions.

While adapting to the new digitised Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals process will be a challenge, our Solicitors and Barristers finds themselves a step ahead of the Digital Age, pushing to provide a more streamline service for our clients.

Using Legal Representation to Apply for Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successfully Apply for Immigration Visa Applications & Appeals

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

Our offices are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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