It was announced last week that WorldBridge will no longer be providing services for applicants for a UK visa from the US. The visa processing service will now be provided by VFS Global. There are also a number of changes to immigration law that will come into force on 6 April 2014.
Change of Visa Services Expected to Cause Delays And Increase In FeesVFS Global is currently the world’s largest outsourcing and technology specialist. They will operate in a similar way to WorldBridge, although there will be notable differences. VFS, like WorldBridge will provide the ability for Applicants to obtain their visa using the visa priority service. WorldBridge used to charge $150 for the priority service whereas VFS will charge $170.00 for the priority service. WorldBridge priority service processing times were 3 days, however, VFS are yet to confirm the processing times for the priority service.
It is expected that there will be delays in the processing times in the US during the transition of services from WorldBridge to VFS Global.
Changes To Immigration Laws Coming Into Force on 6 April 2014:
On 13 March 2014 it was announced in Parliament the following changes to the current Immigration Rules, which will come into force on 6 April 2014:
Businesses employing illegal workers:
- The maximum civil penalty for employing an unauthorised migrant worker will double to £20,000. The increased penalty will apply to employers who continually breach the prevention of illegal working rules.
Tier 2 – Changes to minimum salary levels & job codes:
- The minimum salary levels required for employees to obtain sponsorship for some roles under Tier 2 will change on 6 April 2014. Employers planning to sponsor employees after that date should check the new Codes of Practice to ensure that they meet the new requirements.
- Employers should consider assigning any Restricted Certificate of Sponsorship granted already by 5 April 2014. If the Certificate is not allocated by this date, the salary for the role must meet the new revised rates.
- Some Job Codes (or Standard Occupation Classification Codes) will also change on 6 April.
Visa Application Fees:
- The government has presented a list of fee changes for visas, immigration, nationality applications and premium services.
- There is no change to the cost of a Certificate of Sponsorship, it will remain at £184. However, Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) fees will increase.
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