By Daniel Hunter

A new pilot allowing top business migrants to continue travelling whilst waiting for their visa to be processed launched on today (Monday).

Applicants re-applying for a visa under the Intra-Company Transfer (ICT) route will now receive their passport back within seven to ten days, after applying for their visa but before it has been approved.

It forms part of the Home Office focus to make the visa application easier for businesses and their employees. Recent figures show that our reforms to the immigration system have not deterred the brightest and the best from coming to the UK as visas for skilled migrants increased by five per cent in the year up to March 2013.

"This pilot is another example of the steps this government is taking to simplify and improve the visa process while maintaining the security of our border. The UK is a destination for global talent and we will continue working with businesses to drive forward more improvements," Immigration Minister Mark Harper said.

"Our immigration reforms are working, with net migration at its lowest level for a decade. Figures show we have cut out abuse while encouraging migrants who contribute to economic growth to come to the UK."

The pilot will mean that applicants will be able to travel freely during the visa application process, providing that their existing visas have not yet expired and they have leave to remain in the UK.

The government has recently introduced a number of other improvements to the ICT route including increasing the maximum length of stay for senior staff earning over £152,100 from five to nine years and reducing the amount of documentation required for the visas.

Currently the pilot is available for Tier 2 ICT visa holders who are reapplying for their visa in the UK. If the pilot is successful there are plans to introduce it across other routes.

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