This is good news for Tier 2 sponsors and migrants as, 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.