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Processing delays as changes loom

29 January 2024

The Home Office is struggling to cope with a surge of demand for immigration application-related services ahead of an increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge and upcoming changes to the Skilled Worker and Partner routes.

For further information on the changes putting pressure on immigration services provided by UK Visas and Immigration, see our earlier articles on the Immigration Health Surcharge (which affects most applications for UK limited immigration permission) and on the Government’s five-point plan to reduce net migration (which affects the Skilled Worker and Partner routes).

What services are currently affected?

Application processing for all immigration applications may be delayed due to a significantly higher volume of application being under consideration than usual.

For the Skilled Worker route, services required as a pre-requisite for making an immigration application are affected including:

  • Sponsor licence applications;
  • Applications for defined Certificates of Sponsorship for Skilled Workers applying for entry clearance from outside the UK;
  • A significant inability to secure availability of the Worker and Temporary Worker priority change of circumstance service, and in particular for:
    • Requests for additional or annual undefined Certificate of Sponsorship allocations for Skilled Workers applying for permission to stay in the UK; and
    • Requests to make changes to the key personnel on a sponsor licence; and
  • Standard sponsor change of circumstances services, which can take up to 18 weeks to process.

A delay in availability of a Certificate of Sponsorship is a serious matter for individuals intending to make an in-country application under the Skilled Worker route ahead of existing immigration permission expiring, and options for individuals in this situation should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

If you have queries about this topic, please contact a member of our Immigration Team.

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