March 27, 2013
In a surprise March 26th address to Parliament by Britain’s Home Secretary, Theresa May, Secretary May announced her plans to move forward in dismantling the UK Border Agency (UKBA) and split its functions into two, separate entities within the Home Office.
The UKBA is an executive agency of Britain’s Home Office and was formed in April 2008 by combining the Border and Immigration Agency, HM Revenue & Customs, and UK Visa Services from the Foreign & Commonwealth Office. The agency current employs approximately 23,500 employees operating in the UK, at British borders and via overseas missions in approximately 135 countries.
Secretary May’s announcement comes almost one year from when border enforcement duties were split away from the UKBA to form a new agency, the UK Border Force below.
As of March 26th, Secretary May announced plans to totally dismantle UKBA and into an immigration and visa service and an immigration law enforcement organization. Both operations will report directly to ministers within the Home Office.
ACTION ITEMS FOR EMPLOYERS
Citing massive backlogs of visa applications and ending a “closed, secretive and defensive culture” within the UKBA, Secretary May will require that these two new entities will report directly to ministers versus an agency head.
Given the UKBA’s recently announced April 6th changes to Tier 2 and other Tier categories below,
it remains to be seen what will be the impact of processing immigration benefits and control of immigration compliance by the Home Office.
According to Secretary May, in forming these operations under the Home Office’s direct control, this will create “First, a high-volume service that makes high-quality decisions about who comes here, with a culture of customer satisfaction for businessmen and visitors who want to come here legally. And second, an organisation that has law enforcement at its heart and gets tough on those who break our immigration laws.”
For companies and immigration suppliers alike, it will remain to be seen if this will reduce both a backlog of applications (approximated in years) and streamline future application procedures.
Please note that as this unexpected announcement comes immediately prior to the Easter holidays in Britain, and further guidance will more than likely be forthcoming during the coming months, companies and assignees alike are encouraged to check with their UK immigration supplier to confirm current application requirements and approximate processing times until these new operations are (1) established and (2) have time to implement customary policies and procedures.
Caveat Lector | Warning to Reader
This is provided as informational only and does not substitute for actual legal advice based on the specific circumstances of a matter. Readers are reminded that Immigration laws are fluid and can change a moment’s notice without any warning. Please reach out to your local Pro-Link GLOBAL specialist should you require any additional clarification. This alert was prepared by Glenn Faulk, Senior Manager, Knowledge Management. Pro-Link GLOBAL prepared this brief according to UK Home Office and British press releases to provide you this update.
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