To help protect the health and wellbeing of their staff and applicants during the global pandemic, the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS), led by Sopra Steria on behalf of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), suspended all services at the end of March.
This led to the backlog of visa applications at UKVI, with both employers and their employees left in limbo about their immigration status and work visas. Now that the UKVCAS has progressed to the next stage of the gradual reopening of the UK immigration system, and to deal with the backlog of visa applications, they have worked with UKVI to develop the new Identity Verification (IDV) app.
What is the Identity Verification (IDV) app?
In response to COVID-19, the UKVI announced a new biometric reuse policy, where eligible applicants that have previously submitted biometrics to UKVI will not have to repeat the whole identity verification process.
How Does Identity Verification Work?
The new IDV app, which was made available from 17 August, claims to be quick and easy to use and works on most Android and iPhone smartphones. The app is free to use for eligible applicants to submit their information to the UKVI by taking a photograph of themselves, and their travel document, and uploading the documents via their smartphone.
Once they are fully up to speed (expecting to reach this point at the beginning of September 2020), the UKVI aims to process up to 20,000 applications per week.
Can anyone use the Identity Verification app?
Only applicants that receive an email invitation can use the app, so those who have not previously submitted biometric information to UKVI will not be able to use it. They will need to book an appointment at a UKVCAS Service Point in the usual way.
It is likely applicants will be invited in chronological order, dealing with those who submitted applications for leave to remain before 31 July 2020 first.
What does the introduction of the Identity Verification app mean for employers?
If you’re an employer then you should be aware that the immigration status of your employees who are eligible for this process will remain unaffected whilst their application is in progress.
However, it is important to note, that this does still restrict your employees with travel until their applications are complete.
How can Shakespeare Martineau help?
If you need any advice or support with securing the immigration status of your employees then our team of business immigration specialists can help.
With the new points-based immigration system still set to come into force from January 2021, we can help you and your business to plan your recruitment processes and budgets today, in order to ensure business stability and continuity in the years ahead.
For further guidance and support, speak to Tijen Ahmet in our business immigration team.
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