In March this year, we wrote about the abrupt suspension of UKVI priority services for new applications made from outside the UK here. Today, after a full 5 months, UKVI has reinstated “priority services” for new work visa applications.
The suspension was UKVI’s response to the large influx of applications under the Ukraine Family Scheme. Those applications were to be prioritised for obvious reasons and given resource constraints, UKVI could no longer offer its previous priority services alongside that.
Whilst this resumption is notionally great news, all is still not sweetness and light at UKVI. Work visa applications in the UK have been taking far too long to be decided, even when ordinary priority services were still available. We have seen standard applications pending for 12 weeks+ instead of the prescribed 8 weeks, and 5 day “priority” applications taking up to three or four weeks! Perhaps it would have made more sense to work on establishing a base position of normal good service standards both outside and inside the UK before offering priority services again. Otherwise this just risks becoming speedy boarding on paper – you pay extra to be at the head of the queue but (a) so did everyone else; (b) it still takes ages to get on board; and (c) the flight is delayed anyway.
If you have any questions relating to UK visa applications or other immigration matters, please contact your usual Squire Patton Boggs business immigration team member or Annabel Mace, partner and Head of UK Immigration.