What are the changes? The United Kingdom intends to offer a selective and super-elite personalized visa and immigration service to VIP business leaders through an invitation-only pilot program beginning next year.

What does the change mean? The GREAT Club, as the Home Office has dubbed it, is intended to attract top business executives by providing members with a dedicated liaison to help them through the visa process.

  • Implementation timeframe: The pilot program will begin in early 2014 and run for 12 months.
  • Visas/permits affected: Visitor visas and potentially applications under Tier 1 and Representative for Overseas Business.
  • Who is affected: The pilot program is aimed at 100 global business leaders who will be invited into the program by the U.K. government.
  • Impact on processing times: Other than improving visa services for business leaders invited into the exclusive club, the program will have little to no impact on processing times.

Background: The Home Office announced that the GREAT Club will start in 2014 as a one-year pilot program. The first invitees will be about 100 global business leaders who have strong links to the U.K. The dedicated account manager will make sure the visa process goes smoothly and will arrange visa services catered to each member’s needs. According to the Home Office, it will not charge club members any extra service fees for the special treatment during the pilot period.

BAL analysis: While benefiting only a few elite executives, the initiative indicates an attempt to attract expatriate business leaders by providing a level of premium services for visa processing.

This alert has been provided by the BAL Global Practice group in the United Kingdom. For additional information, please contact

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