Immigration: EU Nationals

Home Office written question – answered on 24th July 2019.

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Photo of Ian Murray Ian Murray Labour, Edinburgh South

To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department, what assessment he has made of the potential effect on people applying to the EU Settlement Scheme of charges issued by private operators for biometric services.

Photo of Caroline Nokes Caroline Nokes The Minister for Immigration

All applicants to the EU Settlement Scheme will be able to submit their biometric photograph via their online application. There is no charge for this.

Family members who are not EEA or Swiss nationals and do not already hold a Biometric Residence Card will also need to enrol a biometric photograph and fingerprints, excluding children who are 4 years old and under - they do not need to enrol fingerprints. The Home Of-fice estimates that only a small cohort (less than 5%) of the overall EU Settlement Scheme co-hort will need to submit their biometrics fingerprints.

When required, biometric fingerprint enrolment will take place at one of 57 UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service (UKVCAS) centres across the UK, run by Sopra Steria, our commercial partner. Six of the locations can be used without any appointment charge being incurred. The remaining locations attract an appointment charge of £60 at an enhanced service point or £200 for the premium lounge in London. Additional charges also apply at each of the 57 sites for out of hours appointments It is a matter for the customer to decide which location to attend.

Our commercial partner, Sopra Steria, undertook market research to identify service locations; their research included the impact on customers of travel time, cost and accessibility. The 6 core service centres that offer free appointments have been sized and located based on projected customer footfall information, providing coverage for customers across England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland. The majority of the service point locations are situated in town and city centres and close to transport links and 62% of customers will, on average, have to travel less than 25 miles to visit a core service centre, with 78% travelling less than 50 miles

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