UK Visas & Immigration: Customer Services & Operations Update

The Home Office has today reported that following feedback from applicants and partners, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), have made changes to their service standards for applications made within the UK since 1 January 2014. UKVI is the government body which manages visa applications for people who want to visit, work, study or settle in the UK and aims to offer excellent customer service and secure decisions to applicants.

Changes to UK Home Office Visa Application Processing Times

They have made changes to their service standards for straightforward applications made this year, but have stated that if applications are more complex and a decision cannot be made within the standard processing time, they will keep applicants informed of this and write to them explaining the next steps.

UKVI have stated the following processing times for straightforward applications:

  • Applicants applying to remain in the UK on a temporary basis as a spouse, workers, Tier 1 General and entrepreneurs, students and organisations seeking to sponsor a worker: 8 weeks (10 day priority postal and same day premium);
  • Employers applying in the UK to update and maintain their license details: 18 weeks; and
  • Applicants applying in the UK to remain permanently (or naturalise as British) and applicants from Turkey and Croatia to live, study or work: 6 months.

The Home Office have stated that for applications received before 1 January 2014, application processing times will remain subject to the standards in force at the time they were submitted.

UK Visas & Immigration: Intention to Improve Customer Service Standards

This morning, the UKVI and Greater London Authority (GLA) Operational Forum was webcast with key operational service users and representative organisations in attendance. The aim of these meetings is to promote UKVI’s awareness and create a dialogue with the intention of responding to customer’s feedback.

The following points were noted:

  • UKVI spokesperson stated that they quality check 4.9% of decisions on EEA applications when they are only required to check 2%. UKVI intend to improve service standards and are willing to give direct contact details of case workers so they can work through applications with applicants. It has also been suggested that there should be a Public Enquiries Office (PEO) service for EEA family members; and
  • UKVI noted that they had seen an increase in applications for Tier 2 Sponsorship Licences and the recent customer survey was positive as customers noted that officers were polite, knowledge and accessible. Interestingly, UKVI noted that the most common reasons for Tier 2 and Tier 5 sponsorship licence’s being suspended were due to poor records being kept and no evidence of a Resident Labour Market Test being carried out.

Successful UK Visa Applications

Our team of experienced and professionally qualified immigration solicitors and barristers will be able to guide you through the process of making a visa application or an application for a Tier 2, 4 or 5 sponsorship licence step by step and limit the possibility of failure by complying with the strict letter of law. We have the experience and the knowledge required to take your case forward successfully.

Contact us so that we can review your case and provide you with an assessment.

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