In our Immigration alert dated 6 February 2015, we advised that Biometric Residence permits (BRPs) would be required by non-EEA nationals who apply for visas of more than six months duration from outside the UK. This new requirement is being rolled out in four phases, country by country, over a four month period, beginning in Pakistan from 18 March, phase 2, (including China and India) from Mid-April, phase 3 (including Australia and the United States) from 31 May 2015 and phase 4, the rest of the world, from 31 July 2015. Further details as to the countries where the scheme will be rolled out and when may be found here.
As advised in our February alert, once the process becomes fully operational across the world the UK will then be fully compliant with the EC Regulation that requires Member States, when granting leave for more than six months, to issue a standard format residence permit document which is to be sole evidence of leave.
Applicants will need to have greater certainty about when they plan to travel to the UK. The consequences of applicants delaying their arrival in the UK, could involve a financial penalty or in the worst case scenario, a cancellation of their leave to stay.
Employers should also remain compliant with their duty of preventing illegal working by carrying out document checks (of the visa endorsement/vignette and then the BRP) to confirm a prospective employee’s right to work in the UK. This will provide employers with a statutory defence against payment of a civil penalty for employing a person with no right to work in the UK. An adjustment to current processes may need to be made to accommodate this change to the issuance of visas.
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