07 December 2011

More UK visa applicants to be issued with biometric residence permits

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Regulations are being laid in Parliament which, if approved, will result in more UK visa applicants being issued with biometric residence permits (BRPs) from 29 February, 2012.

UK visa

More UK visa applicants are set to be issued with BRPs from 29 February, 2012.

Should the new regulations be put in place, all UK visa applications for leave of more than six months made in the UK by non-European Economic Area (EEA) foreign nationals will require the applicant to enrol their biometrics (fingerprints and digital facial image).

Should the application then be successful, the UK Border Agency (UKBA) will issue a biometric residence permit (BRP) as evidence of their UK immigration status and entitlements in the UK. All applicants will require a BRP, including refugees and those granted settlement.

This new focus on BRPs comes as they are described as an "important step in fighting immigration abuse and illegal working" by the UKBA. They allow an employer to easily verify a foreign nationa;s right to work in the UK, with guidance on how to do so available on the UKBA's website.

At the moment, there are 17 locations at Post Offices across the country where people can enrol their biometrics. However, the UKBA is set to expand on this, having contracted Post Office Ltd to establish 100 locations across the UK where biometrics can be enrolled, with these new locations set to be in place in Spring 2012.

Also arriving in Spring 2012 will be a new online checking service, which will give employers an easy way to perform real-time checks on a foreign nationals permit, their identity and their right to work.

The UK Visa Bureau is an independent immigration consultancy specialising in helping people prepare for their UK Ancestry Visa application.

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