Since 6th April all customers booking an appointment with the PEOs are required to pay a £100 appointment fee per applicant in advance of attending their appointment.
The remaining £275 of their appointment fee is then be paid on attendance at the PEO, along with the standard application cost.
This process will also apply to representatives. The £100 fee is not an additional fee and was part of the newly revised £375 fee for premium service appointments which was announced on 25 February.
This change has been introduced by the UKBA in an attempt to reduce the number of wasted appointments and is also part of a wider series of IT and process changes to help them tackle the problem of harvested appointments.
Under the new process representatives continue to request appointments in exactly the same way (ie by emailing the representative booking request sheet duly completed on Monday at 9.00). Once requests have been processed and appointments confirmed a booking reference number (BRN) is be sent. Upon receipt of this information the representative is be required to call the Immigration Enquiry Bureau (IEB) between 09:00 and 15:00, to make a payment of £100 for each person named on the appointment. Calls to pay the appropriate fee must be made by 15.00 on the next working day following confirmation of the appointment. If payment is not made within this time frame, the appointment is cancelled automatically.
The payment information are transferred to another team in the Home Office who process the payment. Confirmation of payment is then dispatched by post to the registered cardholders address. (Subject to the postal service, this should reach you within 5 working days).
It is pivotal to note the importance of keeping the receipt in a safe place since the Home Office will not supply a replacement if lost and the applicant will not be allowed into the PEO without it.
Cancellations or rebooking can only take place up to 5 working days before the appointment. Failure to do so within this timescale or non-attendance will result in loss of the £100 appointment fee(s).
Since the launch of the new process there has been a large number of reported problems with the payment process and the delivery of the payment receipt. It is safe to say that it may take a few weeks before the current issues are ironed out. Even then with 3 entities (Home Office, the external payment processing provider and the Royal Mail) involved in the process, there is a lot of room for errors.
Whilst the lead time remains 6 to 8 week.
For further information please contact us.