The Home Office has announced its plans to launch a passport return service pilot for migrants applying for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) in the UK under Tier 2 of the points based system.

From 6 May 2014, the Home Office will automatically return to such an applicant his or her passport(s) and biometric residence permit (BRP) within seven to ten days of the application being created. This service will in turn allow such applicants to travel whilst their applications are being considered.  However, it remains unclear whether or not migrants will need to have valid leave to travel during this time.

The introduction of this pilot follows both feedback from Penningtons Manches LLP and others, as well as the launch of the passport return service as a pilot in July 2013 for Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) migrants (see our previous article on this here).  The response to that pilot was positive and has encouraged expansion to other routes.

If this pilot proves to be another success, the Home Office may consider adding additional routes to this service.  In the meantime, Penningtons Manches is continuing to liaise with the Home Office for the return of passports for all applicants, particularly for those who are required to travel frequently and/or those who can apply only by post, such as sole representatives and Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants.