Passport return scheme for migrants rolled out

12 May 2014 | Posted by Carl Thomas

The Government is to launch a pilot scheme for people applying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, which will allow them to travel while their application is being considered.

The Home Office passport return service trial will return passports to people applying to stay in the UK under Tier 2 of the points based system within seven to 10 days of their application. They will also receive their biometric residence permit, but it is not clear whether they will also have to obtain valid leave to travel before they can leave the UK during the period that their application is being considered. Applicants will receive the documents automatically and will not be required to make a separate application for their return.

The Government has introduced the new pilot project following the success of a similar scheme last year for Intra-Company Transfer Tier 2 migrants, which was well received. Feedback received from that trial scheme has encouraged the Home Office to extend the passport return service to other migrants during their application process. It had pledged to look at rolling out the service to other migrants if the initial pilot is judged to be working well.

The latest extension goes further than the original trial, which did not automatically return biometric residence permits to people while they were awaiting the outcome of their application.

Campaigners are now calling for the passport return service to be applied to all migrants seeking indefinite leave to remain in the UK. Currently, it does not apply to those with Tier 1 entrepreneur visas, who often need to travel frequently because of their work