Interesting development on in-country applications. A new service delivered by outsourcing firm Sopra Steria will see supporting information processed at local libraries rather than people having to post it in with their application:
Under the new arrangements people using the service will be able to submit biometric information including photos, fingerprints, and signatures and their supporting evidence at a single appointment. The evidence will then be copied and sent to UKVI, meaning that people won’t have to hand over important documents, such as passports, whilst the applications are processed.
The contract is widely seen as part of the preparations for registering over three million EU citizens and their families for settled status after Brexit. It will begin in October 2018.
The immigration minister, Caroline Nokes, said:
The new streamlined service will make the visa application process quicker and easier to access than ever before for people in the UK, through increasing the use of digital services.
As the Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigration (JCWI) points out, Sopra Steria was the firm that helped the NHS lose some 700,000 medical records a few years ago. No doubt there has been some sort of internal audit on what went wrong there and due diligence carried out to satisfy the authorities that it was a one-off for a huge organisation. I’m guessing, mind you, as the Home Office did not answer a request for comment on the past performance of Sopra Steria in partnerships with government agencies.
More details of the new arrangements are in this press release.