Open visa applications for Care Workers, the end of discount on visa fees for CESC nationals, loss of British Citizenship for undisclosed criminal offences, an update on visit visa processing times and biometric re-use are all covered in this month’s Immigration round-up.
Home Office open visa applications for Care Workers
On 15 February 2022 the Home Office began accepting visa applications for Care Workers and Home Carers. This new visa concession under the Health and Care Worker visa route enables care workers to come to the UK to work for 12 months. Previously it was only possible to sponsor Senior Care Workers under the Skilled Worker visa route – the Government have however recognised the significant levels of vacancies in the care sector that is impacting service delivery and provision of care for service users. Care workers are now listed on the shortage occupation list. This is intended to be a temporary concession and will remain under review by the Home Office.
End of discount on visa fees for CESC nationals
From 26 February 2022, fee concessions on visa applications for CESC country nationals will be scrapped and all applicants will be required to pay the same visa application fees, regardless of nationality. Applications made on or before 25 February, by CESC country nationals will continue to benefit from a waiver of the £199 Certificate of Sponsorship fee for Skilled Worker visa applications and a £55 visa application fee discount on the cost of the application form.
Loss of British Citizenship for undisclosed criminal offences
There continues to be an obligation to disclose material facts in applications submitted for naturalisation as a British Citizen, including facts arising after the application has been submitted and pending approval as part of the ‘good character’ requirement.
Applicants whose conduct is not disclosed and later comes to light are likely to have their citizenship revoked if already granted, or refused if pending for approval – potentially rendering that person stateless.
As seen in recent case law in the case of Begum  UKSC 7, the grounds of appeal against deprivation decisions have been very narrow, so it is extremely important to disclose anything and everything which may cast doubt on good character.
Update on visit visa processing times
As a continued and ongoing result of the pandemic, the UKVI are continuing to experience an unpredictable demand across all of the visa routes.
In particular, the standard visit visa route has seen an increase in applications being made and processing times via the ‘standard’ visit visa route are taking on average six weeks to process instead of the usual three weeks.
Visit visa applicants who purchase available ‘priority’ and ‘super priority’ processing packages should have their applications assessed within their service standards.
UKVCAS – Hull Service Point change of address
From Monday 28 February 2022, the UKVCAS Hull Service Point at Regus House will move premises to its new address at:
Hull Central Library
The new location is a six-minute walk from the current location.
Customers who have already booked an appointment at the Regus House, Savile Street address are not affected by this change.
Biometric re-use may be available for more applications
The UKVCAS Identity Verification (IDV) app may become available for more applicants – after a successful pilot for many points based visa applicants, the Home Office are looking to extend use of biometric re-use technology to those applying for a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), Biometric Residence Card (BRC) or SET-M visas.
SET-M, BRP and BRC applicants should wait to receive an email from UKVCAS confirming the next steps within 7-10 working days from submission, whilst the UKVI assess whether the application can be progressed using the IDV app.
Eligible users of the app will therefore save on biometric enrolment and appointment fees and should see decisions made quicker.
These articles are from the February 2022 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 February 2022.