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UNITED KINGDOM - Biometric Residence Permits for First Time Applicants

New regulations will require non-EEA nationals seeking permission to come to the UK from overseas for more than six months to have a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP).

Currently non-EEA nationals are only required to apply for a BRP when granted permission to extend their stay in the UK for more than six months. From March, the government is extending this requirement to applicants from outside the UK as part of the visa application process.

What's Changed About Application Procedures?

Instead of having a visa vignette, or sticker, affixed to a passport or travel document, migrants will be issued with a short validity "travel" vignette, allowing them to come to the UK and collect their BRP within ten days of arrival.

The change does mean that applicants will need to be sure to enter the UK in good time, within the validity of the initial "vignette", and allow time to collect the BRP post arrival.

The visa application fee is not being increased as a result of the introduction of overseas BRPs.

When Will This Happen?

The initiative will be rolled out in phases, country by country, over a four month period expected to start in March 2015.

What Is a Biometric Residence Permit?

The Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) is a secure document containing biometric data (fingerprints and a photograph). Biometric residence permits in the EU have been introduced as the result of European Union (EU) regulation 380/2008. The BRP allows the holder to easily demonstrate their entitlement to work in the UK, and as such, is one of the principal documents that employers can accept when undertaking ‘right to work’ checks.

Change to Right to Work Check Process

With the introduction of the overseas BRP, employers will be able to either:

  • conduct the right to work check using the BRP before employment commences, resulting in one check. The next check will be due when the employee’s permission to be in the UK and work expires.
  • allow employment to commence before the employee is able to collect their BRP, resulting in two checks. Employers must be aware that they will need to conduct an initial right to work check on the basis of the short validity “travel” vignette, and once that vignette has expired, a further check on the basis of the BRP. The next check will take place when the permission to be in the UK and work expires.

Action Items

  • Note that applicants must bear in mind the short validity of the vignette and the need to collect the final BRP post arrival when making their travel plans to the UK
  • Employers should note that right to work checks should be done on the final BRP (i.e. not only on the vignette), which may affect planned employment start dates.

This alert was drafted using information provided by Dearson Winyard International

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this immigration alert has been abridged from laws, court decisions, and administrative rulings and should not be construed or relied upon as legal advice. If you have specific questions regarding the applicability of this information, please contact Peregrine © 2017 Peregrine Immigration Management Ltd.