Business immigration updates in July

Youth Mobility Scheme to be extended for New Zealand nationals

Earlier this month, Boris Johnson and Jacinda Arden agreed a reciprocal extension of the Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS). Currently, New Zealand nationals between the age of 18 to 30 can come to the UK for up to two years under the YMS. However, under the latest agreement, the YMS will be extended in 2023 to allow people aged 30 to 35 to live and work in the UK for up to three years.The agreement will help expand the talent pool which UK businesses can recruit from.

Young people in the UK planning to live and work in New Zealand will also benefit under the reciprocal agreement.

Further information on the extension of the YMS is expected in 2023, however, it will be interesting to see whether more countries and extensions are agreed to the YMS in the coming months.

Visa processing times – the latest

As reported over the last couple of months, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) are continuing to prioritise applications made under the Ukraine Visa Scheme, in response to the war with Russia. The latest revised visa processing times for out of country applications are starting to show signs of improvement, in some, but not all, areas. In good news, the work visas were previously taking an average of six weeks to process, and this has been reduced to an average of 4 weeks.

Student visa applications are also back within the normal service standard of three weeks. However, visit visa applications have seen a surge in applications and a backlog is developing. Although the average service standard is three weeks, visit visa applications were previously taking an average of six weeks to process and this has now increased to seven weeks. There is also no change for family visa application which remain at 24 weeks. These revised times are a global average and timescales may vary from region to region.

Priority and Super Priority services for visitor visa applications made from overseas

As reported above, the average global processing times for visit visa applications are increasing rather than decreasing over time. To help manage the backlog, since 15 July 2022, the availability of the priority service for visit visa applications has been reduced in several overseas locations. The aim is to help recover processing times back to the usual three-week service standard. Overseas nationals looking to visit the UK for business, and must apply in advance of their travel, should be notified of the current processing times and seek to apply as early as possible. However, appointments for the super priority service, where these are offered in certain locations, will continue as normal and not be subject to reduced availability at this time. 

The new Scale-up visa to launch on 22 August 2022

By wat of reminder, the Scale-up visa is another new immigration route which will open on 22 August 2022. This visa is intended for talented individuals recruited by a UK Scale-up sponsor, who have the skills needed to enable the Scale-up business to continue growing. We are awaiting further details to be released on how a UK business can become a Scale-up sponsor but for an overview of this new visa route, based on the information available to date, please see our March article.