On 6 November 2013, the Government announced improvements to the visa system to attract the brightest and best to work, do business and invest in the UK.
Improvements will include:
- Launching the GREAT Club, an invitation-only service providing top business executives with bespoke support from UK Visas and Immigration ("UKVI" - formerly known as the UK Border Agency). The GREAT Club will launch in the New Year as a twelve month pilot aimed at around 100 global business leaders who use the visa service and have strong links to the UK. Each business leader will be provided with their own account manager to ensure their visa service is "swift and smooth" and arrange tailored visa services;
- Expanding the priority visa service from 67 countries to over 90 countries by Spring 2014 which means that a visa decision is usually given within three to five working days;
- By the end of 2014 the same-day visa service, currently available in India, will also be available in China and several other key locations; and
- Introducing a VIP mobile visa service to India and piloting a passport pass back service in southern India with a view to expanding countrywide if successful.
The Home Secretary, Theresa May, confirms that "These changes will allow us to maintain a world-class, competitive visa system that can innovate in order to serve the ever-changing needs of business and ensure Britain succeeds in the global race."
Should you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact Lynn McCloghry.