November sees a raft of changes being made to the way visa applications that are made within the UK are conducted. Paper-based forms are slowly being eradicated and most UK-based customers applying for leave to remain in the UK or to settle permanently will need to apply online and scan their documents. They will then attend an appointment at one of the 57 new UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UK VCAS) to have their biometrics taken. These centres won’t be run by the Government but have been outsourced to a commercial partner, Sopra Steria.
The Government states that this initiative will see an improvement to overall service but that remains to be seen. It’s not clear whether people will still be able to receive a same-day decision or how the outsourcing will function. During this current transitional period, the majority of applicants can still choose whether to enrol their biometrics and submit their evidence via these new centres or use the existing processes, such as the Post Office.