UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has revealed plans to digitalise the visa application process by outsourcing it to an external technology supplier.
According to the department, procurement for a deal estimated £91 million has begun, with the prediction that it will run for at least three years with the potential for a two-year extension.
As part of this deal, the technology supplier will reportedly be responsible for providing a variety of services including identity checks, biometrics capture, and digitisation of any UK visa application supporting evidence.
Commenting on the announcement, a Home Office spokesperson added that the project aimed to make sure the customer experience of overseas visa applicants is the same as that of customers applying in the UK.
"UKVI has a significant programme of transformation underway to enhance the level of service our customers experience,” they said. “A key part of this transformation is changing how customers apply and provide their biometrics, documentation and additional evidence.”
As part of the proposal, there are also plans to introduce biometrics capturing, as well as the checking of digitised identity documents by the supplier.
According to the Home Office, the new deal could also provide scope for the generation of revenue through the provision of value added services such as providing priority UK visa services and variations.
However, while current UK visa applications require an appointment to be made at a visa application centre, the Home Office has not yet made it clear how much of the new process would rely on the use of interviews.