A one-day immigration scheme has been trialled by the Home Office to help cut the backlog of EU residency applications.
According to an article in the Guardian quoting city sources, the pilot project was offered to a “small number of corporate clients,” with one city firm saying it allowed applicants and their dependents to “check in” their passports and have them assessed and returned immediately.
A similar scheme was run over the summer but only for individuals; however, December’s one-day scheme allowed a check in of passports for the whole family.
The Guardian said: Lawyer Julia Onslow-Cole, head of global immigration at PwC, confirmed the consultancy had a number of clients who had taken part in the trial.
She said that although the government had not yet indicated how it would treat the 3 million EU citizens living in the UK before the referendum, clients were getting “very worried” about their staff and future recruitment because of the uncertainty.
The usual requirement for such an application often means people applying for UK residency had to hand over their passports for six months or more, meaning they could not travel.
The long application and diary of movements required for the permanent residency application has been criticised by The 3million group, which was set up with the aim of securing the rights of EU citizens in the wake of the Brexit vote.
In September we reported on The Migration Observatory at the University of Oxford’s statement that securing the right to residency for three million and more EU migrants living in the UK was the equivalent of “around 140 years’ worth of work” for the government.
The Home Office said December’s pilot was “a small test” and was part of a modernisation programme launched before the referendum, according to the Guardian’s article.