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November 2018 Visa and Citizenship Application Changes

With Britain’s immigration system facing an uncertain future, change is going to be a regular occurence moving forward.  As we move into an  increasingly digital world, the British government have decided it’s time to embrace the change and move over a significant portion of their application process to a new streamlined digital system.  The 5th of November changes will help to phase in the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) and see the UK gradually move towards a seamless digital system.  In this article we are going to look at how the changes will affect applicants and what the benefits are likely to be.

Why the Change?

The reason for the change is relatively simple - efficiency. The government spends a lot of  money and manpower on visa and citizenship applications and by going digital, they can cut down on the amount of man hours that go into the process. It also allows them to streamline the process making it more efficient for not only themselves, but also for applicants. By focusing on the digital element and using dedicated centres, the government hope to make the process faster and much more efficient. This is combined with helping applicants to receive a better, safer and more secure service. If everything goes as planned, the future for applicants looks very positive indeed.  The move will allow the UK to gain a significant advantage in attracting visa applications to the UK. This will undoubtedly help to reduce the damage that may be caused by Britain leaving the European Union and the immigration concerns that will come with it.

What Will Change for Applicants?

For new applicants, there is a new and improved online application system. There was an online application system before, but the system has now been refined to make applications much more straightforward and secure. Applicants can now upload their documents directly to the system saving time. Once you have submitted your application, you will be able to then book an appointment at one of six national centres for an interview (there is also the option of local self-pay centres for those who cannot get to one of the national centres). These changes mean that applicants can now keep hold of their documents and not face the potential of them being lost in transit. The hope is that this new system will help to harmonise what can be a hard to navigate system and make it much easier to use. The government has tested the system extensively to ensure that it will work exactly as required and have provided secure architecture to ensure that your documents are stored securely to reduce concerns about the security of such personal information. In this day and age, security is a big concern for those who use the internet and the government has taken steps to ensure it is handled properly.

Why Has the Government Chosen to Do This?

The reasoning makes sense from a government perspective. There is a potentially large cost saving to be had by making the system safe, secure and easy to access. There are also cost savings to be had by centralising the core centres by ensuring that the government is using fewer buildings and staff. In recent times the Home Office has been heavily criticised for its shortages of staff and this should help to alleviate the problem. There is also the issue of a huge number of expected applications from EU migrants hoping to secure their status in the UK. Brexit is causing confusion and worry for those who have travelled to the UK to live and work. The formalisation of their rights is likely to create a large upturn in applications that will need to be processed while the UK leaves the union.

Are There Any Benefits for Applicants?

Yes. Previously applicants have been required to send physical copies of original documents along with their applications. This has raised the possibility of these being lost in transit and applications being significantly delayed. The new system seeks to remove that possibility by transmitting them digitally, meaning that the applicant can keep hold of their original documents and provide a copy of them to the government. For those that live in large cities, there is also the benefit of having a local appointment with an official. If the system works well, then there are huge benefits to the system - it can make it significantly more efficient and help to reduce processing times.

Is There a Benefit for the Government?

Yes there are significant benefits for the government if the system works well. There is a potential for a significant reduction in processing times, this is potentially huge. The Home Office is regularly stretched to breaking point and a new, more efficient system will be widely welcomed. There is also the potential for very large cost savings long-term. By using fewer staff and having computers take on much of the workload, the government can gain huge efficiency benefits and make a slow and complicated system much faster.

Where Can I Get More Help?

< style="text-align: left;">If you need more help with an immigration query then please get in touch. We can help to advise applicants on any of the UK’s tiered and other immigration routes and we have a long history of helping would-be migrants successfully move to the UK. So for more advice or help, get in touch today and our experienced team will be happy to help.

 

 

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