As part of the visa application process, the visa applicant must in most cases attend a Visa Application Centre (VAC) to have their biometrics taken. The rule generally is that the application will not begin unless the biometrics data have been submitted.
Since May 2023, it is possible however to delay attending a VAC where it is deemed unsafe to do so. For this the applicant must contact the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) to request that the latter predetermines the application before the biometrics is taken, or to excuse the applicant from the requirement to attend a VAC to enrol their biometrics and defer the requirement to enrol their biometrics on or after their arrival in the UK.
Before contacting the UKVI, the applicant must demonstrate that they have taken all reasonable steps to complete their biometrics including:
Decision makers must consider all 4 criteria listed below and only agree to predetermine an application or excuse individuals from the requirement to attend a VAC to enrol their biometric information where they can demonstrate they meet all 4 criteria as follows:
Where an applicant is excused from attending a VAC for their biometrics, the individual must arrange for their identification documentation such as their passport to be sent to the VAC where they would normally attend.
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The latest statement of changes to the Immigration rules has been published. Bonheur Legal has compiled a list of the most significant changes that we believe will be most pertinent to our clients and future clients.
We will therefore be focusing mainly on:
The Electronic Travel Authorisation scheme
The introduction of the Innovator Founder route on 13 April 2023
The increase of the minimum salary under the skilled worker
The Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) scheme
The UK Immigration Minister reiterated that one of Government’s ongoing priority is to secure the UK borders and keeping people safe. The UK’s ambition is that everyone wishing to travel to the UK has the appropriate permission and the Government believe that the ETA scheme will be contributing to the Government to achieve their aim.
Set out in Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation; the ETA scheme will apply to foreign individuals, visiting or transiting through the UK who currently do not need a visa for short stays. It will also apply to those using the Creative Worker route for a short stay in the UK.
As of 15 November 2023, the scheme will apply to nationals of Qatar.
The scheme will be extended to nationals of the following countries as of 15 February 2024:
Residents of Ireland that do not need a visa will be exempt from applying for the ETA to enter the UK.
UK ETA app
The ETA application will be made via the UK ETA app and should take 3 working days to be processed.
The ETA will be issued electronically.
The Innovator Founder Route
The Innovator Founder route is a replacement of the less popular Innovator and Start-up routes. The criteria under the current Innovator Route will be more flexible under the Innovator Founder Route.
There is no longer the 50 000 GBP minimum funds requirement, and it is possible under certain conditions for the holders of the Innovator Founder visa to engage in employment outside the running of their business.
Extension applications will be possible under the Innovator Founder – Same Business criteria, where the applicant last had permission as an Innovator Founder or was on the Start-Up or Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) routes.
Settlement will be possible after spending three years continuously resident in the UK under the Innovator Founder route.
Skilled Worker – Salary change
The minimum salary threshold for Skilled Worker visa is now 26,200 GBP.
Furthermore, the new salary for the Global Business Mobility Senior and Specialist workers will now be 45,800 GBP and 24,220 GBP respectively.
The new proposed salary for the Scale-up workers will be 34,600 GBP.
Please contact us should you have any further questions.
The Home Office has recently issued a set of relevant sponsor amendments.
What you should know:
Scale-up Worker visa
Since 22 August 2022, fast-growing UK businesses can attract talents under the Scale-up visa route.
A fast-growing or scale-up business is a high-growth company that has:
This definition seems in line with that of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). The OECD defines high-growth enterprises as ‘All enterprises with average annualised growth greater than 20% per annum, over a three-year period should be considered as high-growth enterprises. Growth can be measured by the number of employees or by turnover.’
A Scale-up Worker visa will allow a visa national to come and perform an eligible job for a fast-growing company.
To qualify for a Scale-up Worker visa the applicant must:
Duration of Stay
The migrant can potentially stay for a:
It is interesting to note that although the initial visa lasts for two years, the applicant must work for the specified sponsor for only the first six months.
This is a welcomed option to the sponsor as after 6 months, the administrative duties imposed on the sponsor is lessened and there is no Immigration Skills Charge which represents a considerable saving to the employer.
For the employee, he or she enjoys some flexibility as to where he or she can work.
Becoming a Scale-up Sponsor
You will have to go through the normal process of applying for a Sponsorship Licence and the Sponsors who hold a general sponsor licence will need to add the scale-up option to their licence. When applying the Home Office will check the HMRC data directly and it is therefore important that the companies HMRC’s records are up to date.
Unlike the general licence, the scale-up licence cannot be renewed beyond the four years.
Indefinite Leave to Remain
After 5 years of continuous stay under the Scale-up Worker visa you may be able to apply to settle permanently in the UK and apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain.