If you currently possess a Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), you’ll notice that it says that it will expire on 31st December 2024. We receive so many BRP mistakes in the industry; so much so that the Home Office has a whole sub-department just to correct their own mistakes. However, it will come as a surprise that this expiry date is actually not a mistake.
It represents the Home Office’s push to ‘go digital’; but of course we will discuss the truth of this in more detail in due course. However, it is firstly more important to ensure we understand the legality and reasoning behind the mere existence of BRPs.
Per official Home Office guidelines:
An individual automatically makes an application for a BRP if they make an application for leave for longer than 6 months or apply for entry clearance for longer than 6 months” .
Their purpose is simple; to be used for identification purposes, as well as proving the immigration status and entitlements of the individual whilst they are in the UK. So, if you have Refugee Status in the UK, you will see that your BRP notes this. Your BRP is also used to state whether or not you have any right to work or have access to public funds.
Now, it is understandable why BRPs may be useful for those with leave in the UK. The question to be asked, however, is why the Home Office are so obsessed with the cute little pink cards. Well, here are the reasons that they have explained:
So, to cut a long story short, the Home Office don’t really have any adequate explanations for the importance they give to BRPs. Nevertheless, UK immigration without BRPs would be like Suella Braverman without her ironic right-wing policies – truly unfathomable.
If they work so well in achieving all of the Home Office’s above-listed goals, then it has to be questioned – why the sudden change?
Well, the digitalisation plan was initially tabled because of EU requirements. For those who are unfamiliar with EU regulations, they are rules and regulations which now feel as though they existed around the same time the Magna Carta was first signed. Jokes aside, these EU requirements meant that all BRPs were supposed to incorporate ‘next-generation’ encryption technology. In light of this, it was decided that digital BRPs would become the norm across the EU body. Ironically, the EU have backtracked on this idea (presumably because they looked at the sheer cost of it and realised they could use the money for something more important).
Of course, when the idea was initially introduced here in the UK, we were still a part of the EU family. However, now that we are the family’s misfit; the now – relegated child, we’ve decided to march on the beat of our own drum. Evidently, it seems as though the UK is overflowing with cash and hence we are going digital.
This process essentially builds on the idea of ‘Share Codes’. For those who don’t know, Share Codes permit individuals to ‘View and Prove’ their Immigration Status. It is an online service, which has become incredibly useful for employers who are looking to employ those individuals with some kind of leave in the UK. The digitalisation in this case has significantly streamlined processes which were previously more tedious and lengthy. Of course, the introduction of Share Codes has not been without its faults, but all in all, it has not been a bad idea.
This new digitalisation also reminds us of the ‘UK ID Check App’, the purpose of which was to allow EU/EEA and Swiss Nationals to make their application to remain in the UK and to be able to check the confirmation of their status through the exact same app. Once again, if this app proved anything, it is that efficiency in the UK immigration sector should not be overlooked.
Further to this, as mentioned previously, the Home Office have a whole team set to fix the mistakes that they have made. In addition to this, they have a team designated to replace lost or stolen BRPs; and its a team that actually has a serious and busy job. With the absolute removal of BRPS, these teams can be rid of. Frankly, the cost savings would be incredible and its shocking that the Home Office has waited such a long time to finally implement extensive digitalisation.
So, if your BRP states that it expires on 31 December 2024, there is nothing to be concerned about. It is the card itself that expires, not your leave. This expiry date is simply there for the Home Office’s push to digitalise BRPs – it’s almost like a deadline for them to ensure they actually follow through with one of their plans
As much as we criticise the Home Office, and granted that their previous digitalisation projects are far from perfect, BRP digitalisation is not a bad idea. It cuts costs for the Home Office of having departments strictly allocated to dealing with BRP mistakes and those BRPs that have been lost or stolen. Likewise, it cuts for staff – to have to train them and then pay them.
Hence, BRP digitalisation is a solid plan, but problems should be expected. Nevertheless, the expiry date listed has no link to the expiry of your leave.