Yesterday, the Home Office put forward a consultation paper outlining plans which would permit business visitors and tourists to the UK skip the passport queues at UK airports if they pay an extra fee to the Home Office. The paper outlined plans for premium fast-track processing which would extend a service currently only available to first and business class passengers at Heathrow. This is one of several proposals outlined to cover the costs of the UK Border Agency by raising cash from foreign visitors.
Recognition for Changes to UK Immigration Policy & Improvements to Customer Service
In the consultation paper, the Home Office has recognised the benefits immigration has brought to the UK but states the need to see an immigration system that is stronger and more sustainable. The Government has already made changes to the UK’s immigration policies in an attempt to reduce net migration levels from the hundreds of thousands to the tens of thousands.
Immigration Minister Mark Harper has stated in the consultation paper:
“We believe it is right that those who use and benefit most from the immigration system (migrants and the organisations that sponsor them for work or study) should make an appropriate contribution towards its operation. Similarly those who receive an enhanced service at the border should help meet the cost of providing that service.”
Introduction of Premium & Optional Services for Business Visitors & Tourists
The introduction of the fast track processing service would initially be targeted towards wealthy passengers and intended to make profit, rather than just improve the service, the service would allow travellers to skip queues in airport arrival halls around the country. These plans are aimed at providing foreign visitors with a faster and more personal service and would give migrants and sponsors greater choice and flexibility in their interaction with UK Visas and Immigration.
The following are the Home Office’s plans:
- Overseas: the Home Office intend to expand their priority service to offer migrants the convenience of a decision in 5 days or less. In addition to this, they intend to expand their VIP and super priority services offering a visa decision in 24 hours.
- In the UK: the Home Office intend to expand their sponsor premium service, giving the organisations on the scheme a higher level of access to account management services and in-person appointments for migrants they sponsor. In addition to this, the Home Office has launched a priority postal service which allows applications to receive consideration more quickly than standard postal applications.
Successful Visa Applications for Business Migrants & Tourists to the UK
Our team of experienced and professionally qualified solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a successful visa application step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of the law.
Please contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment of your case.