Many foreign nationals living in the UK have what is known as a Biometric Card otherwise known as a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP). This is a card that confirms their identity, contains their biometric information, immigration status and conditions of stay. Employers want to see this so that they can determine when that person’s visa is expiring. Individuals use it ensure that they do not overstay their stay in the Country.

However, there is a drastic change around the corner.

As of 31st December 2024, any existing biometric cards issued to any foreign nationals will expire. This does not automatically mean that their stay in the country expires. So, if you are an employer, do not rush and dismiss the individual. If you are an individual, ensure you retain the decision letter which has the expiry date of your stay in the UK.

So why the change?

Well, pre-Brexit when UK was part of the EU, there was a requirement for all member states to adopt and upgrade their encryption technology for such documents. This was so that member states could offer their citizens digital identity wallets to make it easier to prove their identity. Even though UK is no longer part of the EU, as part of the government’s plan to modernise the UK border, this was kept to implement a fully digital end-to end immigration system for those living in the UK.

From 17th April, the Home Office have started contacting eligible individuals inviting them, to set up an online UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) account to access the eVisa – the new digital proof of their immigration status. Invitations are to be issued in phases until summer this year when it will be open for all.

What is an e-Visa?

This is an online record of your immigration status. It also details the conditions your stay in the country. The advantage of this is that it offers greater security, eliminates the risk of losing the card and means shorter waiting times for applicants. It also allows an easier way to sharing information with third parties such as with employers or landlords.

Having an e-Visa does not mean you lose your status. It just records the information in a different form.

But I don’t have a BRP, I have a different physical document?

Many people who have obtained their right to live in the UK have done so in many different formats, such as a stamp in their passport or a vignette sticker in the passport. If this is the case, then the individual needs to make a ‘No Time Limit’ application to provide their status in the UK. We recommend that this should be done sooner than later.

What can you do as an employer?

The first thing is to ensure you have the relevant Right to Work document obtained online which confirms when the person can work with you. We would also recommend retaining a copy of their decision letter confirming when their visa is to expire. This is different to the biometric card date – it is often after the biometric card has expired.

The second thing is to notify and let those employees who have a biometric card know that the UKVI are going to contact them, to set up an online UK Visas and Immigration.

For more about Right to Work checks, contact us today.

If you need help with setting up an UKVI account or getting access to your eVisa, we can help you. Contact Arif or Reena in our Immigration Team to chat about this further.

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