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UNITED KINGDOM: Tier 2 Priority Postal Processing Pilot

The UK Border Agency has launched the long-awaited priority postal processing pilot for Tier 2 extension applications where the applicant has previously been issued a Biometric Residence Permit or leave (permission) to remain in the UK.

The initial pilot will include a maximum of 30 applicants per day plus their dependents, on a first-come, first-served basis. It is hoped that this will alleviate the existing strain on fast-track appointment slots, provided migrants are able to remain in the UK for two to three weeks while their extension applications are processed via this new priority postal route.

The good news is that it is cheaper and potentially less time-consuming for the migrant than the fast-track route, where the migrant is required to appear at one of the UKBA's Public Enquiry Offices. With this new priority postal option, the migrant and any dependents will need to go to one of three designated post offices within London to submit biometric data and deliver the application package. The post offices are in Action, Blackfriars, and Broadway. Employers should ensure that their eligible migrants have all their documents ready in support of the application before the application is submitted online, as the time frame for each stage of the process is tight.

As soon as a new Certificate of Sponsorship for the extension has been assigned to the migrant, a request must be e-mailed to the UKBA between 8.30 a.m. and midnight for each qualifying migrant. A reply is received within 24 hours as to whether the request has been accepted, and from this point the stringent timetable must be adhered to as follows:

  • Within 24 hours of receiving the go-ahead from the UKBA, a standard online extension application must be submitted and the standard postal fee paid online (currently £561 per applicant and £281 for each dependent); 
  • A Payment Notification Number (PNN) is generated, which should then be e-mailed to the UKBA so that they can link it to the applicant. A cover sheet is also generated that lists the documents to be submitted with the application; two copies of this should be printed;
  • A Biometric Notification Letter is then mailed to the applicant or his or her attorney (if the attorney has submitted the online application). Some are urging the UKBA to agree to e-mail these letters to avoid delay at this stage; and
  • Within 48 hours of receiving the letter from the UKBA, the applicant and any dependents must appear at one of the three designated post offices within London to submit biometric data and lodge (file) two copies of the cover sheet, along with the supporting documents, in a sealed envelope.

Within 48 hours of receiving the letter from the UKBA, the applicant and any dependents must appear at one of the three designated post offices within London to submit biometric data and lodge (file) two copies of the cover sheet, along with the supporting documents, in a sealed envelope.

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