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Biometrics: Luton

Home Office written question – answered on 22nd July 2019.

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Photo of Gavin Shuker Gavin Shuker Independent, Luton South

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment his Department has made of the effect of the closure of the Crown post office in Luton on the accessibility to biometric information services for visa or immigration applications.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

Customers making immigration applications can no longer use Post Office branches to enrol their biometrics in the majority of cases. Most customers now enrol their biometrics at a UK Visas & Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) centre.

The previous service offered by the Post Office was biometric enrolment only, whereas the new UKVCAS service brings together multiple services to make the application process more streamlined.

The UKVCAS service is run by our commercial partner, Sopra Steria Ltd (SSL), who undertook market research to identify service locations; their research included the impact on customer travel time, cost and accessibility. The results of this were that 62% of customers will, on average, have to travel less than 25 miles to visit a core service point, with 78% travelling less than 50 miles.

SSL can also cater for customers who wish to have more flexible, on-demand, mobile application services, for example at university campuses, employers’ offices or individual customers’ homes.

As part of this contract SSL continuously captures and analyses customer feedback and reviews customer demand to ensure there is sufficient capacity. During May and June SSL opened six additional sites: Manchester, Cardiff, Exeter, Leeds, Sheffield and Edinburgh, with the view to open more.

For information on the closest core and enhanced service points to Luton, please see the UKVCAS website at: https://www.ukvcas.co.uk/locations.

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