Government seeks support with multimillion-pound online immigration services programme

Home Office floats £10m deal

Credit: Danny Howard/CC BY 2.0

The Home Office is seeking a £10m commercial partner to support a programme to deliver online services to check immigration status.

In a contract notice issued last week, the department said that it needs a supplier to provide “skills not available within our current workforce”, including software development expertise in Java, node.JS and other coding languages.

Over the course of a two-year contract worth between £5m and £10m, the winning supplier will also need to deliver the “creation of re-usable patterns and modules for custom development, technical delivery management, testing, agile methods and governance, business analysis, and DevOps specialist support”, the Home Office said.

These skills will supplement the department’s own staff in delivering a range of digital services, allowing citizens, employers, and the government to check an individual’s immigration status. 

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As well as delivering online front-end services, the programme will also cover the development of APIs that allow immigration tools to connect with other government or systems.

“The Home Office is developing a border and immigration system which is ‘digital by default’ for all migrants, which over time means we will increasingly replace physical and paper-based products and services with accessible, easy to use online and digital services,” it said.

“An integral part of this is enabling immigration status information to be made available, through digital means via online status-checking services, which enable individuals to access and share their status information with providers, or via APIs with other government departments or elements of the border and immigration system, enabling automated status checking to be incorporated into other systems.”

The chosen provider will work alongside other existing suppliers and civil servants working on the programme.

“A variety of online status services are already live, with several APIs due to go live over the next few months,” the department said. “However, as the work will encompass development of further services, and extension of existing services to a wider range of users, the requirement is not solely L3 (level three technical support) – we also require resources to support continual change.”

One digital immigration service that is already live is the system for people and organisations to check whether EU citizens have been granted settled – or pre-settled – status under the government’s settlement scheme.

Also in the works is a tool allowing private landlords to check the immigration status of prospective tenants under the government’s right to rent scheme.

The goal is to develop a comprehensive range of services allowing status to be checked digitally.

“Users will be those who have touchpoints with the end to end UK immigration system,” the department said. “This will include the public applying for entry to the UK and third parties – such as employers, landlords, financial services providers and other government departments, who need to check and understand an individual’s immigration status to enable them to live, work and access services in the UK. Users will also include border, security and enforcement teams controlling immigration and securing UK borders.”

Bids for the project are open until 19 August, with work due to start by 10 October.


Sam Trendall

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