The future border and immigration system will make use of the latest digital technology to improve customer experience, increase security and detect abuse. Everyone who is not a British or Irish national will, in future, need permission to travel to the UK, with either an e-visa or an Electronic Travel Authorisation. Applications will be made online and, if successful, an electronic permission will be granted, stating the individual’s immigration status. That status will form the basis of our new end-to-end border and immigration system. It will be checked by airlines, so they know whether the person is permitted to travel, at the border before the person is allowed entry, by employers, landlords and public services to assess eligibility incountry and linked to the record of the person’s exit from the UK.

The future system will be user and business friendly. It will make greater use of existing data across government to reduce the burden of proof we place on applicants, as well as those wishing to offer employment or study opportunities.

The smarter use of data will allow for more targeted interventions to prevent those who would seek to abuse the system from doing so. This will inform the deployment of resources throughout the entire immigration system.

The future system will continue to be built on technology and operational processes that allow for more flexible and rapid change, ensuring government can respond to political, social and economic demands. The new system will be delivered in an incremental way, to build confidence and to provide opportunities for feedback, adaptations and improvements.

9.1 The future border and immigration system will provide a better customer experience for the vast majority of its users: legitimate travellers coming to visit, work or study here (and, of course, British citizens crossing the border), and the organisations that educate or employ them. It will also enable us better to identify the small minority who seek to abuse and to exploit the system, so we can focus
our expert staff more effectively on tackling them.

9.2 The system will be digital, streamlined and easy to use, whilst maintaining strict control of our borders, access to employment, services, including healthcare, and benefits.

Better customer journey

9.3 Nearly all applications for individuals seeking to visit, work or study in the UK are now made online and the application is simple and straightforward to complete. We want to simplify the process further so that all users understand what they need  to do and what they are entitled to do in order that they can navigate the system as effectively and efficiently as possible.

9.4 We will continue to explore other new technologies to improve the process. For example, the ID verification app developed for the EU Settlement Scheme enables those with a chipped biometric passport to prove their identity, verify their passport is genuine and that they are the genuine holder of it, from their own home or workplace. We will learn lessons from its use in the EU Settlement Scheme and consider whether it might be appropriate for use in the future system.

9.5 Online status checking services will continue to be developed to allow individuals to share their status with employers, landlords and other service providers who have legal responsibility for confirming an individual’s status. This approach will remove the current reliance on individuals having to produce documentary evidence of their status, or service providers having to interpret a myriad of documents.

9.6 Rather than issuing those coming to the UK with a piece of paper or a vignette in their passport, we will be granting an electronic permission, such as an E-visa (for those coming to work or study, and visitors from higher-risk countries) or an Electronic Travel Authority (ETA, for those coming as visitors from low-risk countries), viewable as an online status. Users of the future system will therefore have greater transparency of their data, status and entitlements through use of this online service.

9.7 The digital status will be maintained on an ongoing basis by drawing in data from the ongoing interactions the customer has with the Home Office, but also other departments and other data sources, demonstrating ongoing compliance with the conditions of their stay in the UK. Those who seek to abuse the system will be prevented from doing so because they will not have the correct status.

9.8 We will also focus on the needs of sponsors, streamlining and simplifying requirements for companies and educational establishments. We intend to make it easier to interact with the immigration system by conducting these interactions online, improving and replacing existing services, and by using existing data from other government departments, to reduce the burden on individuals and organisations and to speed up the overall process.

9.9 The digital infrastructure and capabilities will continue to be delivered in a phased approach to build confidence in delivery, but also to maintain flexibility as the future system is designed.

Future Border and Immigration System – end to end operation

Better use of data

9.10 Over time, the integration of data from trusted sources will, where it can, replace the need for evidence to be provided by individuals and organisations. This approach is being used in the EU Settlement Scheme for resident EU citizens, where existing data from HMRC and DWP can (for many) demonstrate that they are resident in the UK without the applicant needing to submit any additional

9.11 Similarly, we are exploring how we can better use existing data from other government sources to reduce the evidential burden on employers and educational institutions in the sponsorship system.

9.12 The greater join up of data from trusted sources will help better to identify those who would seek to abuse the future immigration system, allowing for more intelligence-led interventions. Whilst individuals are in the UK, we will continue to use data to check their ongoing compliance, in line with the conditions of their stay, without the need for individuals or sponsors to send through supporting evidence; for example, identifying if the migrant is being paid below the required salary threshold.

9.13 What has been proved once should not have to be proved again in subsequent applications; an individual’s electronic status will be at the heart of the future system. We want to improve the experience of customers interacting with the Government, moving away from the old system of piecemeal interactions, services and paper products and making it easier for users to transact with our services in
a streamlined, seamless way.

9.14 Moving to a model of electronic permissions accessed online means that users will be able to view, understand and update their information from a single place. Users will not have to resubmit information or prove things again in subsequent applications where there has been no change. This approach and the greater ‘customer intimacy’ enables us to provide a much more personalised service,
directing users to the appropriate products to meet their desired outcomes and to reduce errors and incorrect choices.

9.15 We have already made significant progress in delivering components of the future border and immigration system. Most applications can be made online and more of these overseas are in multi-language format; new technology programmes  are replacing legacy systems at the border, for immigration applications and immigration enforcement; and the passport renewal process has been greatlysimplified and now allows for the self-uploading of images.

Building on the EU Settlement Scheme approach

9.16 The EU Settlement Scheme has been designed to be fully digital from the point of application through to the resulting residence permission, which can be checked  online by the individual themselves, employers and other service providers. By giving individual migrants direct access to their own data – and the ability to share this with service providers – we are giving them greater transparency, clarity and control. With online services, we can also ensure that checkers see only the
information that is relevant and proportionate to their need, in a way that is not possible via a single document or endorsement as evidence of status.

9.17 Dedicated links between the Home Office, HM Revenue and Customs and theDepartment for Work and Pensions have been created to enable quick searches of government data, with results shown to the applicant before they submit their application. This avoids the applicant having to provide any  documentary evidence of their residence footprint, in many cases. It also reassures the applicant thatwhat they have detailed in their application is what their decision will be subject to,  along with completion of identity and security checks, reducing the likelihood ofsubsequent appeal.

9.18 The applicant is required to provide additional documentary evidence only to fill gaps in existing data and the applicant can upload this electronically. Applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme do not have to make choices about what to apply for. What they are eligible for is determined in a single application process, removing what may be complex or confusing choices for those not familiar with our
Immigration Rules and providing them with the confidence that they know what decision they are being considered for at the point of application.

9.19 Caseworkers are being trained to support EU citizens through their application and where necessary to help them complete it successfully. However, a simplified application process also equates to simplified decision making, reducing the need for caseworkers to assess multiple forms of documentary evidence. The Scheme sets the tone for the design and the values of the new immigration system that we
will implement from 2021.

Digital Status Checking Service

The Home Office is developing online status checking services, enabling individuals to access and share their status information with third parties. Real time verification of status will give other government departments and delivery partners, including employers and landlords, the tools to establish genuine, lawful, residence and rights.

Right to Work checking service

In April 2018, we launched the digital Right to Work checking service. This enables a migrant  to log onto an online service and authorise the employer conducting the check to see information about their immigration status, to validate their right to work only, and to view a high quality facial image.

This digital service is helping to tackle document abuse and gives the employer access to the most up to date status information, whilst simplifying their process by providing an answer to their question rather than having to understand complex immigration law and make their own decisions. This also supports changing recruitment practices where interviews are often conducted remotely and reduces the burden of keeping paper records. This service will be rolled out to other service providers in a phased way.

9.20 Our ambitious vision will build on what is already in place. The vast bulk of our applications can already be made online; employers can already check someone’s status online; and e-Visas are issued in some circumstances.

9.21 We have confidence in the approach to designing and delivering the service, because of the work we have already undertaken on delivering changes to the current immigration system and to deliver the EU Settlement Scheme. Key learnings taken from the EU Settlement Scheme and its delivery will be applied to the delivery of the future immigration system.

9.22 Delivery of the full future vision will be phased in over time, with a view to implementation from 2021, to ensure safe and reliable services to our customers are maintained, and we continue to build on our progress to date.

9.23 We will ensure that those in the UK who are not digitally enabled are not disadvantaged and are able to use the future system. We are exploring options around a range of support, including the existing assisted digital service for thosewho need help in accessing online services.

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