Immigration Update: British Nationality Applications, Interviews for Students, and Sponsor Circumstance Changes

26 July 2012

Changes to British Nationality Applications

From 16 July, it will no longer be possible to submit British Nationality applications to the British High Commission or British Consulate in the home country of the applicant. Instead, with the exception of Hong Kong, all applications will need to be submitted to the UK Border Agency (UKBA) in the UK. Where possible, original documents should be submitted, including passports. However, it has long been the practice to submit certified or notarised copies of passports with these applications, and the UKBA has confirmed that certified copies will continue to be acceptable, particularly in the case of applicants whose country’s rules forbid the sending of passports across borders. If a copy is submitted, the applicant may be asked to present the original passport to embassy staff in the applicant’s home country.

New Interviews for Students

Earlier this month, the UKBA announced that a targeted interview system for students will be introduced this summer and will concentrate on high-risk applicants. On arrival to the UK, students will be asked about their immigration and education history, study and post-study plans and financial circumstances. The UKBA expects to interview up to 14,000 students in the next 12 months. This announcement follows an interviewing pilot which was carried out by the UKBA last year to tackle concerns about the legitimacy of some applicants. Under the pilot, around a fifth of the applicants were refused entry to the UK based on their interview. One of the main concerns was the inability of applicants to display the required level of English.

Sponsor Change of Circumstances

With effect from Monday, 30 July 2012, the UKBA will no longer notify a Sponsor when certain requests to change sponsor details via the Sponsor Management System (SMS) have been granted. You will be able to use the “view recent and outstanding requests” or “view user list” function in the SMS to track the progress and the outcome of some of the requests.

If the request is rejected, the UKBA will continue to provide reasons for the refusal, or rejection by e-mail a letter to the Sponsor’s Authorising Officer (this will be sent from a “no-reply” e-mail address).

If the change of circumstances request has been filed using a Change of Circumstances Form, the UKBA will continue to notify you of the outcome by letter.

For more information, please contact Nicolas Rollason, Head of Immigration.

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