UK Visas & Immigration (UKVI) is looking to introduce a new preferred agency programme in India next month, aimed at easing the visa application process for travel agents and their clients.
“The new scheme will allow UKVI to work more closely with trusted agents who will be accountable for the applications they verify. We will train agents so that they can verify applicants on UKVI’s part and ensure the applications they are submitting are genuine. This will ensure the process is clear, competitive and straightforward,” said James Brokenshire, the UK’s immigration minister who was on a five-day visit in India.
The trained and accredited travel agents will be provided a designated contact at UKVI to facilitate the visa process.
“We are piloting the scheme with nearly 50 Indian travel agents to test it, a relatively small number, but we are looking at steps that will help us roll out the scheme to more agents. We expect a third of our visa applications to come through the preferred agent scheme in the future,” said Brokenshire, adding that the security of the UK is of utmost importance and companies who misuse the facility will be dealt with harshly.
Brokenshire also announced that UKVI is extending its same-day, super-priority visa services to study and work visas as well as first-time visitors. A new visa application centre is also being planned in Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh.