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For any business, time is money and the usual processing times for UK visa applications can delay global mobility for international companies. The current UK government have made it clear that they intend to make the current system more efficient for high-value companies. This will aid businesses completing their visa application with their solicitors.

Theresa May’s newest beacon is the introduction of an exclusive ‘Great Club’, which offers a premium service to members.  The club is an invitation-only consortium aimed at global business leaders with strong links to the UK.  The scheme will initially be rolled out in pilot form for 12 months and offered to circa 100 global companies.

In terms of value to a global business, the Great Club offers something that currently is not widely offered within the UK immigration system – quick results. 

Theresa May addressed this in her introduction of the Great Club scheme, saying:

“We will continue to listen and respond to the needs of high-value and high-priority businesses so that we can provide them with a service that supports economic growth, while at the same time maintains the security of our borders.”

The availability of a service tailored to each individual’s needs is particularly indicative of the government’s desire to demonstrate that they not only welcome high-value migrants, but also are willing and able to provide a premium, fast and efficient visa service, which can work successfully alongside businesses’ legal representation to ensure businesses don’t feel the strain when it comes to immigration.

This intention to attract high-value migrants can be seen further through the planned introduction of more priority services globally.  The priority service provides processing times of three to five days for out-of-country applications made to the Home Office.  Currently, there are 67 countries worldwide in which a priority service is available to migrants applying to come to the UK.  By spring 2014 this will be increased to over 90 countries.

Further global availability of the same-day service is also being introduced.  Currently the service is available only in India and will soon be available in China, however this is to be increased to further locations by the end of 2014.

A VIP mobile service to India is also planned as well as a passport pass back service to be piloted in Southern India.  If successful the passport pass back service will be applied countrywide.

Certainly, the Great Club is a service any business should consider.  During the pilot membership will be free meaning businesses will benefit from receiving a premium visa service at no extra cost.  Although the scheme will only be available to a select few initially, a business and growth network is to be set up to identify priority businesses that use the UK visa system with a view to extending to them this newly introduced premium service.  Businesses interested in the scheme should contact an immigration advisor for further information on the service and its availability to them.

Written by: Gherson, an award winning, leading independent London law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality, European Union, human rights law and extradition.

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