In today’s blog, we will discuss the ongoing visa processing delays faced by the UK Home Office.
As the Home Office prioritizes the visa applications filed under the Ukraine humanitarian schemes, processing delays are still recurring across other categories, including work, study and family visas.
The Home Office works hard to process applications quickly and return to the service standard. But, it is advised for applicants and employers that it may take significantly longer than usual to receive a decision on your Skilled Worker visa application at the present time.
Now let’s look at the current circumstances for Skilled Worker visa applications being submitted from inside and outside the UK.
Skilled Worker Visa Applications Made Inside The UK
Under usual processing times, those applying to extend or transfer to a Skilled Worker visa from inside the UK can expect a decision within 8 weeks of the application date.
However, the continuous delays have resulted in some cases which have been waiting up to 14 or 15 weeks with no decision and no indication when the processing will be finalized, and even more at around the 12-week mark.
Though priority and super priority services are suspended for applications made abroad, those applying to extend or transfer to a Skilled Worker visa from within the UK can still use these services. However, even priority cases take up to 3 weeks instead of the usual 5 working days to complete, with no sign of getting a refund for the £500 fee paid for a faster decision.
In-country candidates are reminded that they should not travel outside of the UK, Ireland, the Channel Islands or the Isle of Man until the Home Office has made a decision, or the application will be withdrawn.
Skilled Worker Visa Applications Made Outside The UK
Under usual processing times, those applying for a Skilled Worker visa from abroad can usually expect to receive a decision within 3 weeks of the application date.
But, the delays mean that some overseas candidates have been waiting double that time, with many waiting up to 6 weeks for a decision.
As priority and super priority services remain suspended, overseas candidates currently do not have the option to speed up their Skilled Worker visa application and, therefore, should be prepared for the processing time to extend beyond the 3-week standard.
In recent weeks, caseworkers at overseas offices are starting to notice more consistent processing times for overseas applications, as the heavily delayed cases that were accumulated are being cleared gradually.
Most work and investment visas, including Skilled Worker visa applications, on average, take 4 weeks to process
Advice For Employers And Applicants
It is recommended that applicants and employers should consider additional waiting time when applying for a Skilled Worker visa, irrespective of whether the application is being submitted from overseas or from within the UK. Moreover, sponsors should allow for some flexibility in travel dates and start dates for their sponsored employees and be ready to pay for priority services where available.
Due to the continuous delays, it is advised to apply early and ensure all supporting documentation is provided, as your application will take longer to process if the Home Office has to request more information.