Written Questions are submitted by MPs or Lords to receive information from a Department.
|15 Jul 2019, 11:56 a.m.||UK Visas and Immigration: Biometrics||Mr Gavin Shuker|
To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what criteria his Department uses to determine the locations in the UK where biometric information for visa or immigration applications can be provided.
Answer (Caroline Nokes)
The majority of customers will be able to submit their biometrics and supporting information for their visa application via a UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UK VCAS) centre, which are run by Sopra Steria Ltd (SSL) on behalf of UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI). However, Individuals who have higher needs, may be vulnerable, or whose circumstances may be complex and would benefit from face to face interaction with the Home Office are directed to Service and Support Centres (SSC) where they will receive support with their application. The SSCs are all based in pre-existing locations which were previously used as premium service centres, which broadly align with the postal districts of our customers.
There are currently six core UKVCAS service points and seven core SSC’s across the UK at which application submission services are offered. The SSCs are based in Belfast, Cardiff, Croydon, Glasgow, Liverpool, Sheffield and Solihull.
SSL undertook market research to identify initial service locations for the UKVCAS service points; their research included the impact on customer travel time, cost and accessibility. Beyond that, SSL offer a range of enhanced services in a further 50 UKVCAS locations. These services enable customers to submit their biometric information (photo and fingerprints) and supporting evidence in one location. 62% of customers will, on average, have to travel less than 25 miles to visit a core service centre, with 78% travelling less than 50 miles. Appointments may be offered for individual customers and/or family groups to enrol their biometrics together.