Visa nationals who cannot return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to extend their visa.
The extension, announced by the Home Secretary Priti Patel, will apply to anyone whose leave expired after the 24 January and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation.
This will last until 31 May but will be kept under regular review in case further extensions are needed.
To help those who want to apply for visas to stay in the UK long-term, the Home Office is also temporarily expanding the in-country switching provisions.
This will mean people can apply to switch routes, such as from Tier 4 (student) to Tier 2 (General Worker), whilst remaining in the UK. UKVI will continue to process applications as quickly as possible, however some applications may take longer than usual due to COVID-19 related operational pressures.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said:
The UK continues to put the health and wellbeing of people first and nobody will be punished for circumstances outside of their control.
By extending people’s visas, we are giving people peace of mind and also ensuring that those in vital services can continue their work.
Many foreign nationals have found themselves unable to return home since the outbreak of COVID-19 due to flight cancellations and border restrictions.
The extension has been put in place to give these individuals peace of mind that they will not be penalised for overstaying their visa when the situation is out of their control due to COVID-19.
Those who contact the Home Office for these visa extensions will be expected to return to their home countries as soon as possible once flight and border restrictions are lifted. No immigration enforcement action will be undertaken during this time for those who liaise with the UKVI regarding their extension.
In light of the current advice on self-isolation and social distancing, the Home Office is also waiving a number of requirements on visa sponsors, such as allowing non-EU nationals here under work or study routes to undertake their work or study from home.
How can we Help? – Contact us Today
We recommend that through this difficult time, as the UK government has relaxed immigration rules at present, that your important extensions and switching applications are not put on hold.
While the scheme does not apply to overstayers, it is arguable there is a strong foundation to make a strong human rights claim, for those who cannot return back home due to COVID-19. We are experts at making full submissions on behalf of clients that may not always meet the immigration rules, and if uncertain, we highly recommend you contact our firm for a review of your case.
To help clients during these uncertain time, we are currently offering clients a 20 percent discount on our fees in this coronavirus period, until further notice.
Barnes Harrild & Dyer solicitors are situated in Croydon and Central London and specialise in immigration law. We continue to operate working remotely throughout the coronavirus pandemic. The best way to contact us for a priority response, is to select from the blue boxes at top of this screen to either book a consultation, or alternatively request a callback. We will respond straight away.