Fears over skills as visa application times double for spouses
Spousal applications for people coming to work in the UK are being delayed, leaving immigration specialists concerned that the extra waiting times for decisions could exacerbate the skills crisis. Processing times at the Home Office for those wishing to join family working in the UK have doubled, leaving those with job offers in the UK having to renegotiate starting dates.
According to immigration experts, this may have a knock-on effect on UK staff levels and cause businesses to explore sponsorship as an alternative, despite the high costs. The reason for the longer processing times, according to the Home Office, is the amount of applications coming from Ukrainian nationals, fleeing Russia’s invasion of their country.
Individuals have started receiving emails from the Home Office to notify them of a doubling of previous standard processing times. Those looking to accompany to or join family in the UK may potentially face a six-month wait for a decision. Individuals will have plans for housing, employment and education in the UK. These plans may now have to be put on hold with no concrete timeline to work towards. This has unsurprisingly caused concern as this is potentially disruptive and increases uncertainty for those affected.”
The latest guidance from the Home Office stated that applications for family visas may take up to 24 weeks to process.