Sanwar Ali comment:
Allowing all Tier 2 visa migrants to remain, who have been made redundant due to the coronavirus COVID-19 situation seems like a sensible move. Hopefully, in future there will an increase in demand for these Tier 2 visa migrants.
If nothing is done the UK may end up losing highly skilled and talented individuals who would in normal times have remained in the UK. These people should be there to help the economy recover. These are difficult times with the Prime Minister Boris Johnson currently in intensive care in hospital.
The Home Office recently announced that Tier 2 visas for non-EU nationals working for the NHS in the frontline battle against the coronavirus would be automatically extended by one-year.
Following this announcement, the chief executive of Tech Nation – an organisation designated by the Home Office to endorse applications for the Global Talent Visa in digital technology – has urged the government agency to extend Tier 2 visa validity for non-EU workers made redundant by their sponsoring employer amid the coronavirus outbreak.
While the Home Office has eased immigration rules for Tier 2 visa sponsoring employers, many have still had to make the difficult decision to make non-EU workers redundant. As a result of Tier 2 visa conditions, the visa will then only be valid for 60 days after a migrant’s former employer notifies UK Visas and Immigration that they are no longer in the job.
Extend Tier 2 visas for 18 months
Tech Nation chief executive, Gerard Grech, has urged the Home Office to extend Tier 2 visa validity for migrants, made redundant as a result of coronavirus cutbacks made by their employers, by 18 months.
In a report published by Information Age, Grech said: “Holders of Tier 2 visas who are made redundant should have their visas extended for 18 months regardless of employment status.”
Grech went on to say that extending Tier 2 visas for migrant workers made redundant is ‘crucial to keeping top tech talent in the UK.’
Job losses amongst non-EU migrants
According to economic experts, job losses in the UK amid the coronavirus could range from the hundreds of thousands to the millions. If this is the case, the estimated 1.29 million non-EU nationals working in the UK – excluding those working for the NHS – face immigration status uncertainty if they have lost their job or should lose it in the coming weeks.
Prior to the announcement that visas would be extended for non-UK NHS workers, the Home Office announced visa extensions for all migrants stranded in the UK on the grounds of medical advice to self-isolate or due to travel restrictions.
However, the Home Office has issued little guidance for Tier 2 visa holders who have lost their jobs as businesses try to stay afloat while suffering huge financial losses.
Tier 2 visa sponsors
Meanwhile, the Home Office has issued guidance for UK Tier 2 visa sponsoring employers that have been able to retain their non-UK staff. The most notable information provided is that employers will not need to report staff absences caused by coronavirus or notify the Home Office of non-UK employees working from home.
Under normal circumstances, employers would have to report such information under the terms of their Tier 2 visa sponsorship duties. The Home Office has also stated that it will not take immigration enforcement action against sponsors who continue to sponsor employees absent from work due to the coronavirus.
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