New change makes it easier to emigrate to the UK

 ·28 Aug 2022

The United Kingdom’s Home Office has re-opened priority and super priority visa processing, making it easier for South Africans to enter the country – if they’re willing to pay.

UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has resumed priority visa and super priority visa applications after stopping the process due to the Covid-19 pandemic and ongoing war in Ukraine.

According to Sable Internation, the services are only available for new applications made after 12 August.

“Unfortunately, retrospective priority and super priority visa services are not available if you have already submitted your application. You can, however, withdraw an existing or ongoing standard work visa application and resubmit your application visa using the priority or super-priority services if it’s available in your location,” it said.

Priority services are only available via the online booking system. This will enable UKVI to continue to deliver standard applications and gradually reduce the overall processing time for all customers.

The following visa routes qualify for priority services:

  • Innovator visa
  • Start-up visa
  • High Potential Individual visa
  • Skilled Worker visa
  • Student visa

Fees and processing time

According to Sable, the UK priority visa fee is £500 (~R10,000) in addition to the application fee, and you’ll get a decision within five working days, compared to the usual four-week processing time.

The group noted that there have been significant delays in processing and some applicants have been waiting between 12 and 15 weeks for a decision on skilled worker visas.

Super priority service costs an additional £800 (~R16,000) on top of the application fee, and you will get a decision by the end of the next working day if your appointment is on a weekday and after two working days if your appointment is on a weekend or a bank holiday.

For each family member applying with you, you’ll need to pay an additional:

  • £500 for priority service
  • £800 for super priority service

“If you apply with members of your family, you’ll get a decision for everyone at the same time,” Sable said.

The migration specialists noted that even with priority services now open again, prospective emigrants should apply as early as they can so that they have plenty of time to attend their appointment and receive their visa.

“Some visa categories are currently taking more than double the usual processing time. In July, the Home Secretary admitted that the delays could last for months. Priority and super priority were temporarily suspended for work, study and family visas and appointments for visit visas were severely reduced,” it said.

Priority appointments can only be purchased online during the appointment booking process. If they are available for your visa category, you will be offered the option to book one when you make your appointment.

Read: Here’s how many South Africans are leaving for Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the UK

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