COVID -19 and Immigration updates

Published 6 August 2020

The Home Office have released further guidance for migrants in the UK impacted by COVID-19.

 

The guidance includes:

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The Treasury issued a Direction to HMRC which was subsequently issued on 17 April 2020 regarding the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (“CJRS”).

Doctor with Files

The government is no longer charging Immigration Health Surcharge to the NHS staff.

Visa expiring between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020

You were able to request an extension if you were not able to return home because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

However, now travel restrictions are lifting globally you will no longer be able to extend your visa automatically on this basis and you are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise your stay in the UK.

Leaving the UK

To make the necessary arrangements to leave the UK, if you have a visa or leave that was due to expire between the 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, you’ll be able to stay within the UK to 31 August 2020.

From 1 to 31 August 2020, the conditions of your stay in the UK will be the same as the conditions of your leave.

If you intend to leave the UK but are not able to do so by 31 August 2020, you may request additional time to stay, also known as ‘exceptional indemnity’, by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT).

The indemnity will act as a short-term protection against any adverse action or consequences after your leave has expired. Note, this does not grant you further grant of leave. The CIT will provide you with further advice on what you need to do to request an indemnity.

Staying in the UK

If you decide to stay in the UK, you should apply for the necessary leave to remain in the UK. You’ll also be able to submit an application form from within the UK where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.

You’ll need to meet the requirements of the route you’re applying for and pay the UK application fee. This includes those whose leave expires before 31 August 2020.

The terms of your leave will remain the same until your application is decided.

 

Tier 1 Entrepreneur and your business disrupted

You no longer need to employ at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months. The 12 month period you’re required to employ someone for can be made up of multiple jobs across different months.

Time when your employees were furloughed will not count towards the 12-month period.

If you’ve not been able to employ staff for 12 months by the time your visa expires, you’ll be allowed to temporarily extend your stay to give you time to meet the requirement.

These arrangements will continue for applications made after 31 May 2020, where the jobs you’re relying on were disrupted due to coronavirus.

 

Tier 4 student pending decision on application

You can to start your course or studies before your visa application has been decided if:

  • Your Higher Education Institution is a Tier 4 sponsor

  • You have been given a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)

  • You submitted your application before your current visa expired and you show your sponsor evidence of this

  • The course you start is the same as the one listed on your CAS

  • You have a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate, if required

 

Tier 2 or 5 migrant and pending decision on application

You can start work before your visa application has been decided if:

  • You have been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)

  • You submitted your application before your current visa expired and you show your sponsor evidence of this

  • The job you start is the same as the one listed on your CoS

 

Global Talent, Start-up or Innovator visa

If your endorsement has expired because you have not been able to travel to the UK, you may still be eligible for a visa. You should make your application as planned and the authorities will consider applications on a case by case basis.

British nationals abroad who need to apply for a passport

Her Majesty’s Passport Office is accepting online passport applications.

If you’re advised that you must book an appointment at your nearest VAC to submit your passport application, you should check if it’s open.

If you urgently need to travel to the UK, you should contact the Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) to discuss your options.