New charges for 2019-20

Having announced earlier in the year that our fees would remain unchanged for 2019, the additional work and time involved managing Tier 2 visa applications here in the UK has now become more onerous even than managing out-of-country applications – which we charged a higher figure for previously.

It is with reluctance therefore that we have had to amend our Tier 2 visa fees for in-country applications to match those for out-of-country applications, so all Tier 2 visas will, with effect from 1 June 2019, be charged at £1150 + VAT.

However, we have also decided to reduce our fee for dependants from £350 + VAT to £250 + VAT, so for a family of three the cost will remain the same as before.

And additionally, as all service options involve the same amount of work for us now, our fee of £1150 + VAT will apply whether clients opt for standard, priority or super priority service.

Changes to UK based Tier 2 visa applications

Procedures for submitting Tier 2 visa applications in the UK have become far more complex and time-consuming since the appointment of the Home Office’s commercial partner Sopra Steria to run the UKVCAS service points around the UK.

Applicants submitting their applications inside the UK no longer have the option to send in their passports and BRP cards by post. Instead all UK based applicants must upload electronic copies of their supporting documents.

Although this means that applicants are able to retain their passports whilst their application is being processed, it does not mean that they are free to travel.  They must remain in the UK until they have received a decision on their application and their new BRP cards.

 

If the applicant were to leave the country after their application has been submitted and they have enrolled their biometrics but before a decision has been made, their application would be deemed to be withdrawn.

Unfortunately, the changes introduced also mean that applicants are no longer able to enrol their biometrics at a local Post Office. The biometric enrolment fee of £19.20 is now included in the cost of the Tier 2 visa at the point when it is submitted and all applicants must attend an appointment at one of the UKVCAS service points run by the Home Office’s commercial partner, Sopra Steria.

These appointments have to be booked in advance and at many of the service points, there are additional fees ranging from £60-£260 per applicant depending on the time and location of the appointment.

Free appointments are only available at the six core service points in:

  • Belfast
  • Birmingham
  • Cardiff
  • Croydon
  • Glasgow
  • Manchester

 

However, these free appointments have to take place between core hours of 10am and 4pm from Monday to Friday and usually have to be booked at least two weeks in advance.

If the applicants want to attend an appointment at one of these sites with less than two weeks’ notice or outside of core hours, there will be an additional charge of £100 per applicant.

There are another 50 enhanced service points dotted around the country, which offer appointments during the week between the core hours of 10am and 4pm at a cost of £60 per applicant. If the applicants require an appointment at one of these enhanced service points at short notice or outside of core hours, the additional charge is £125 per applicant.

Appointments can also be booked in the Premium Lounge at 20 Mark Lane, London EC3R 7AF and are usually available up to 28 days in advance. However, there is a fee of £200 per applicant for appointments at the Premium Lounge during core hours of Monday to Friday between 10am and 4pm.

For urgent appointments at the Premium Lounge or for appointments outside of core hours, the additional fee rises to £260 per applicant.

 

The processing time for a decision on an application only starts from the date of the appointment to enrol biometrics:

  • With the standard service costing £723.20 per applicant, most people will get a decision on their application within 8 weeks of attending their biometrics appointment.
  • With the priority service costing £1223.20 per applicant, most people will get a decision on their application within 5 working days of attending their biometrics appointment.
  • With the super priority service costing £1523.20 per person, most people get a decision on their application on the next working day after attending their biometrics appointment.

Please note that applicants are required to choose which service they want for their application at the point of submission, but they must do so before they have booked their biometrics appointment and once an application has been submitted it cannot be amended. So even if the applicant chooses to submit their application using the super priority service, there is no guarantee that they will be able to get a biometrics appointment straight away.

Changes to the minimum salary requirements

There have been a few changes to minimum salaries for roles at RQF Level 6 and above.

As is usual at this time of the year the Home Office have made changes to the minimum salary requirements for “New Entrants” – those under 26 or graduates switching in-country – and “Experienced Workers”. However these changes are generally slight, and some have even fallen. Typical examples are:

  • Civil Engineers: NE: £25,700 up to £27,500. EW: £31,600 up to £33,300
  • Quantity Surveyors: NE: £23,400 down to £22,600. EW: £30,400 up to £31,800.
  • IT Project Managers: NE: no change at £31,200. EW: £36,000 up to £39,900
  • Veterinarians: NE:£25,200 up to £27,100. EW £32,300 up to £36,300
  • Sales Accounts and BDM’s: £25,100 up to £26,500. EW: £33,300 up to £34,800

Please note that these figures are based on a 39-hour week. All of the new minimum salary requirements can be found in Appendix J of the Tier 2 immigration rules by going to this link:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-j-codes-of-practice-for-skilled-work

Renewing CoS allocations for this Financial Year

For those clients on Auto Renewal (about half of you) your new allocation for this year can be seen on the SMS – go to sponsor summary and scroll down to Tier 2 (General) and Tier 2 (ICT) CoS and the new number available will be shown – this is usually equal to the number issued last year.  If you didn’t issue any, or may need more this year, then we can always request additional CoS for you.

For those not on automatic renewal, a few sponsors have been allocated one or two but generally most are starting the new year off without any.  But, as stated above, if you may need any this year, then we can always request additional CoS for you. We usually need to provide detailed reasons why a CoS is required, eg: the vacancy details and/or candidate details.

Remember of course that for all out-of-country applications, we still have to request restricted CoS at the monthly panel.

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UK VISAS NO WIN NO FEE PROMISE

We provide a ‘No Win – No Fee’ guarantee for all points-based system visa applications unless expressly stated at the time of appointment. We will guarantee our service for these applications by offering a full refund on our fee should it be unsuccessful.

These guaranteed terms are conditional upon the client being able to demonstrate to the satisfaction of the Home Office that they have earned the income claimed or that they have the necessary funding in place for maintenance or are fully conversant with their business plan in the case of Tier 1 Entrepreneurs.

It also presumes that neither the applicant nor their dependants have previously come under scrutiny or been under investigation by the Home Office for any immigration matter. In order that we can do our job properly the necessary information and details required should be made available and they must genuine as well as accurate.