The roll out of the Biometric Residence Permits (BRP) overseas started in Pakistan on 18 March 2015 and will expand to include 31 other countries such as China and India in mid-April. A further 33 countries will be added from 31 May 2015 including the United States, Canada, and Japan. The worldwide rollout will be completed by the end of July. All applicants affected who are granted a visa to the UK for more than six months will be issued with a BRP which they will need to collect once in the UK.

The BRP will be replacing the visa endorsement and will contain details of the migrant’s immigration status. This has already been rolled out for migrants applying from within the UK. The process to be followed by migrants applying overseas is as follows:

  • Applicants apply for their visa through the normal process and select the Post Office from which they wish to collect the BRP once in the UK;
  • They will be issued with an entry clearance endorsement to the UK valid for a 30 day period;
  • The individual must travel to the UK within the 30 day period;
  • On arrival in the UK, the individual must collect their BRP within 10 days of entry and before their visa expires.

Employers may allow an individual to start work on evidence of a valid visa endorsement before the collection of the BRP. However, prior to the expiry date on the endorsement, employers must carry out another check to ensure the individual continues to have the right to work. Evidence of the checks must be signed and dated and kept on file to show when they were undertaken.

Foreseeable issues: 

  • The timings of the visa application - if the individual does not travel to the UK within the validity period of 30 days, they will need to apply for a replacement vignette which may mean a delay to the start date;
  • A delay in collection of BRP on arrival in the UK - this could lead to sanctions such as a financial penalty or cancellation of leave;
  • Errors on the visa endorsement – these should be corrected before the individual travels to the UK as the BRP will be issued based on the same details;
  • Errors on the BRP – these should be corrected within 10 working days of collection.