With effect from April 2015 the UK government is planning to extend its super priority visa service to allow business visitors, tourists and investors to have their visa application processed within 24 hours. This is currently in operation in India and China and will now be rolled out to seven more countries including Turkey, South Africa, the United Arab Emirates, Thailand, the Philippines and visa processing centres in New York and Paris. The fee for this service will be £600 per application on top of the standard visa fee.

Until recently New York was processing Tier 2 visa applications within 24 hours for a much more modest priority fee of U$170 and it is to be hoped that this service will be resumed shortly.

Sponsors will now need to appoint a Level 1 user

With effect from 6 November 2014, any new Sponsor submitting a sponsor licence application must initially appoint an employee as Level 1 user. Once the licence has been approved, the Level 1 user may log into the Sponsor Management System and appoint a legal representative to perform this role if required. Potential sponsors will need to be aware of Data Protection considerations to ensure the most appropriate person in the organisation is appointed to this role, as the Level 1 user will have access to potentially sensitive information relating to migrants, such as salary.

For existing sponsors who have not appointed an employee to perform this role, they will now be required to appoint one.