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Recently the UK published its vision for a migration system of the future, to drive a ‘stronger, more secure and prosperous Union’ in the ‘New Plan for Immigration: Legal Migration and Border Control’

Through the plan’s implementation, the Home Office claims that the UK will boast the world’s most effective and secure border system, enabling and supporting growth prosperity, that will be simple to understand and operate, and that prioritises public protection.

On the back of its revamping of the points-based system in 2021 and other successful schemes, the Home Office’s focus is now focussing on individual circumstances of those using the UK’s immigration system, by promising the following by 2025:

    • Improved customer services:
      • the provision of simple guidance for individuals, including the publication of ‘how to’ videos
      • call centres and digital self-service for information, process explanations, and guidance on being compliant, including the introduction of chatbot and voicebot functionality scheduled for 2023;
      • streamlined digital application processes, using identify capture and verification;
      • faster application processing;
      • continued roll-out of ‘eVisas’, accessible via a user-friendly online system (digital customer account) or ‘system to system’ services;
      • continued implementation of the ‘View & Prove’ service via the user’s digital customer account, allowing individuals to demonstrate their rights via simple online services, with greater sharing of data between government departments
      • conversion to eVisas for those individuals with existing immigration status by the end of 2024, for which help and guidance will be provided; and
      • phasing-out of physical evidence of immigration status
    • better targeting and “watchlisting” at the border;
    • more efficient borders:
      • higher levels of e-Gates usage, with a view to lowering the user-age minimum from 12 to 10 years and extending usage to individuals with immigration permission;
      •  implementation of better informed ‘counting in and counting out’ processes;
      •  more efficient use of biometric data from 2022/2023, to recognise individuals at different points in the system, thereby removing the need for repeat capture of such data;
      •  partnership with all types of carriers and ports by early 2024
      •  improvement of digital case working processes

There are also plans to implement

  • contactless travel for British citizens and “most trusted overseas partners” of the UK;
  • a flagship “permission to travel scheme” to be unveiled in 2023 – this will require all travellers to the UK to secure permission prior to travel here, with a view to avoiding ‘turning away’ or detaining travellers at ports of entry;
  • the roll-out of Electronic Travel Authorisations (ETA) in 2023
  • reductions to processing times for sponsor licence applications in the wake of reforms to this process between now and 2024, with improvements to short-term issues in labour supply expected for delivery by Spring 2023
    • Early 2023 – to streamline the process for sponsors, applicants and enable more efficient caseworking
    • Late 2023 – to give the Home Office greater understanding about a sponsor and their sponsored worker, and allow for quicker decision-making the online management system for all sponsors to carry out post licence activities will be improved e.g. allowing sponsors to make changes such as adding users to their licence; and
    • Early 2024 – to make it easier for prospective sponsors to apply for a sponsor licence automated data checks will be introduced
    • Exploration of existing and new automation technologies for air, maritime and rail ports and the trial of a pre-clearance model where border control requirements are fulfilled prior to the individual’s departure

This information came from a blog post originally published here.

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