Priority services for EU nationals, Comprehensive Sickness Insurance and the new biometric enrolment process for visa extensions are all covered in this month’s Immigration round-up.
Priority services for EU nationals
From 30 November, priority visa services have now been (finally) available to EU nationals who are applying via the ID check app. It is available both in and out of the UK for Skilled Workers, Health and Care workers, and Students.
For such applications made via the ID Check app, the priority visa processing time is usually a 5 working day service, which starts on the next working day after the applicant has completed the application and uploaded their supporting documents.
It is not yet possible to book the Super Priority Service as an EU national but this remains under review and may be introduced in 2022.
Comprehensive Sickness Insurance (CSI) and British citizenship
CSI is a type of health insurance that EU citizens, who resided in the UK as either self-sufficient people or students, were expected to hold. If the individual didn’t hold CSI and didn’t have a European Health Insurance Card (EHIC) issued by another EU member state, then lack of such insurance meant that, potentially, they were living in the UK unlawfully.
This has caused concerns as this requirement was not well publicised at the time of their arrival into the UK and is not something that can be resolved retrospectively.
Lack of CSI in the past can affect the outcome of a person’s British citizenship application as, when the Home Officer consider such an application, they look at the person’s lawful residence and good character. Although discretion may be applied on occasion, many fear being refused and losing the £1,330 fee.
EU citizens were not required to have CSI to qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme but as above, the lack of such insurance for students and self-sufficient people means that any future application for British citizenship may be refused on the good character grounds.
As previously reported, the Nationality and Borders Bill is currently progressing through parliament. During the Bill’s recent committee stage, a new clause which would have allowed for the CSI requirement to be met by having had access to the NHS in practice, was unfortunately tabled by Bambos Charalambous MP. However it will be put forward again at later stages of the Bill’s passage.
A new biometric enrolment process for visa extensions
The Home Office are seeking to expand their use of technology to streamline the visa application process. Following the successful roll out of use of the ID app for EU nationals applying for Skilled Worker visas, the Home Office are now looking to roll out use of the ID verification app for in-country applicants seeking a visa extension application in the UK. This would avoid the need to book a Sopra Steria biometric enrolment appointment and mean applications can be filed more quickly for visa processing.
This is being introduced in stages from 14 December, starting with single applicants and with a review to extend to dependent applications in due course.
Details of the process are expected to be announced in due course.
These articles are from the December 2021 issue of Employment and Immigration Law Update, our monthly newsletter for HR professionals. To download the latest issue, please visit the newsletter section of our website. For further information please contact a member of Birketts’ Immigration Team.
The content of this article is for general information only. It is not, and should not be taken as, legal advice. If you require any further information in relation to this article please contact the author in the first instance. Law covered as at December 2021.