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UK Embraces Digital Transformation: A Closer Look at the Transition to eVisasDate Posted: 22 November, 2023
The United Kingdom is on the brink of a substantial transformation in its immigration system, bidding farewell to traditional physical documents like biometric residence permits (BRPs) and vignettes in favor of digital immigration statuses. By the close of 2024, the UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will fully embrace electronic visas (eVisas), aligning with the overarching goal of making the UK immigration system inherently digital.
This shift to eVisas is not entirely novel, having been successfully integrated into the EU Settlement Scheme. However, the upcoming transition signifies a comprehensive change that will impact how international recruits apply for visas, enter the UK, and validate their right to work.
To use the new system, applicants must register for a UKVI account, granting access to the “view and prove” service. This service allows applicants to securely share relevant information, such as immigration status, with third parties like employers. Through the account, individuals can conveniently update personal details such as passport information and generate share codes for employers to verify their right to work.
The move to eVisas brings several advantages. The digital format enhances security, mitigating the risks associated with physical documents being lost, stolen, or tampered with. Additionally, the elimination of the need for physical documents means applicants no longer have to endure waiting periods or engage in the cumbersome process of collecting such documents. Most importantly, the digital format streamlines the process of proving one’s immigration status at the UK border, offering a quicker and more efficient experience for travelers.
Throughout 2024, the UKVI will initiate contact with various visa holders, starting with skilled workers in early 2024. This phased approach ensures a systematic transition, with different visa groups, such as dependents and student visa holders, being contacted at various points throughout the year. Employers can stay updated on developments by registering for updates on the GOV.UK page dedicated to eVisas.
Acknowledging the impact on employers, the UKVI commits to keeping them informed of the latest developments. This includes updates on when skilled workers will be contacted to create a UKVI account, insights into the implications for right-to-work checks, and guidance on interacting with the sponsor management system.
In conclusion, the shift towards eVisas represents a bold step in modernizing and simplifying the UK immigration system. As the nation embraces digital transformation, stakeholders, including applicants and employers, can anticipate a more secure, efficient, and user-friendly experience in navigating the immigration landscape. The ongoing communication and support initiatives by the UKVI demonstrate a commitment to ensuring a smooth transition and fostering a digital immigration system that meets the needs of all stakeholders.