The British Chamber of Business held talks last Thursday with regional manager of Southern Africa’s United Kingdom Visas and Immigration Department (UKVI), Lorna Feldtman, where it was announced that Cape Town will be the newest recipient of a 24-hour-turnaround visa service…

Formerly only available to applicants in Tshwane (Pretoria) and Johannesburg, Move Up’s managing director, Ryan Rennison, who attended the briefing, said that Feldtman’s intention was not only to announce the new service that will cost Capetonians one thousand pounds (approximately R17,000), but to reaffirm that the new UKVI online application process is designed to be more user-friendly for applicants around the world.

“It was encouraging to hear directly from other business representatives present at the talks, who testified to the significant improvements made to the UKVI AccessUK platform, who also celebrated the extended availability of the 24-hour priority visa service,” said Rennison.

Feldtman is responsible for managing Tshwane’s 90 entry clearance officials and said that at any given time, her team has 10 000 cases awaiting decisions.  The entry clearance officials process between 330 000 to 360 000 cases per year, or 3 834 cases per official per annum.

Peak seasons

Feldtman also confirmed South Africa’s peak seasons, when delays to visa decisions can be expected, are Easter time (April to August) and Christmas (November and December).

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Structural changes have enabled the Tshwane office to transition to a paperless process, which have also led to the establishment of new service-level agreements with their commercial partner, TLS.

The service-level agreement has set the target of a ten-minute submission time in cases where applicants make use of the self-help document upload service.

“The meeting gave us privileged insights into the decision-making process and internal processes of the UKVI department and, at the same time, allowed us to identify areas of improvement for Move Up when catering to the South African public,” said Rennison.

“Move Up’s active membership with the British Chambers of Business ensures that we are first to understand the UKVI’s visa policies and any changes that they roll out that might affect our clients,” Rennison concluded.