From September 2024, the UK Government is rolling out the process of a fully digital immigration system.

As a result, from 1 January 2025, physical visas will no longer be issued by the United Kingdom or accepted at the UK border. Instead, those holding UK immigration status will have to create a UK Visas and Immigration (“UKVI”) account in order to access their online digital visa status.

Thus, instead of holding physical copies of visa documents like Biometric Residence Permits (BRPs) and Biometric Residence Cards (BRCs) when travelling, individuals will be able to travel paper- and permit-free. There are many anticipated benefits of this system, including reduced queueing times at UK Immigration Control as well as improved security.

How to create a UKVI account

Since 17 April 2024, the Home Office has begun the process of inviting some migrants to create a free UKVI account via the Government website.

The creation of a UKVI account requires the following information:

  • date of birth
  • BRP number
  • passport
  • email address and phone number
  • access to a smart phone.

Once the UKVI account is created, individuals will be able to view their immigration status and eVisa online.

Given that this information will be available to Immigration Officers at the border, it is essential that personal information and passport details are updated regularly by the UKVI account holder. The type of information that will need updating is included here.

For employers, landlords and banks, the Government’s online ‘View and Prove’ service generates a share code which can be used by a visa holder to prove their immigration status. By generating these share codes, third parties can access information for a period.

For HR professionals and directors: what are the next steps as an employer of visa holders?

Employers who have employees that hold a visa need to ensure they are staying ahead of the digitalisation process. It is recommended that employers take the following steps:

  1. Keep an eye on Right to Work records and record the expiry date of any BRPs.
  2. Ensure employees who travel internationally are aware they should carry their BRP until 31 December 2024. We suggest that affected employees sign up for Home Office updates here.
  3. Assist visa holders with the creation of their UKVI account in due course.

Keeping records of employee visas and consistently reviewing these will help ensure you are complying with immigration regulations and mitigate the risk of any issues arising.

If you are an employer and have questions or concerns about the digitalisation of visas or changes to the Immigration Rules, please contact Sharmila Mehta.

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This article is for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. It should not be used as a substitute for legal advice relating to your particular circumstances. Please note that the law may have changed since the date of this article.