Sanwar Ali: Coronavirus and UK Visa Update 6 April 2020

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Stay at Home Protect the NHS sign, near Canary Wharf, London

Sanwar Ali, workpermit.com

By Sanwar Ali

The number of people who have been infected by coronavirus COVID-19 in the UK is heading towards 50,000, with the number of people who have died in the UK heading towards 5,000.   These figures may very well be misleading.  The true figures may be much higher than this.  Even Boris Johnson the British Prime Minister has coronavirus and is currently in hospital for tests.

Coronavirus is probably the biggest global crisis since the Second World war that ended in 1945.  We cover below details on changes for coronavirus related changes for UK visa applicants in the UK.

Contact Home Office if your visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020

If you cannot leave the UK because of inability to travel or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).  Please see the instructions below from the Home Office:

You must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) in English to update your records if your visa is expiring and you were not planning to stay in the UK.

You should provide:

  • your full name (include any middle names)
  • date of birth (dd/mm/yyyy)
  • nationality
  • your previous visa reference number
  • why you can’t go back to your home country, for example if the border has closed

The Home Office say that they will respond within five working days.

If you are in the UK and your UK visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020 and you wish to stay long term in the UK.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS ONLY APPLIES TO APPLICANTS WHOSE VISA EXPIRES BY 31 MAY 2020 (INCLUDES THOSE WITH A CORONAVIRUS RELATED EXTENSION) AND ALREADY MEET THE USUAL REQUIREMENTS FOR THE UK VISA.

If you already meet the requirements for a long term visa category and your visa expires on or before 31 May 2020, you can now in all cases apply for your UK visa from within the UK.  This is even in a situation where you would usually have to apply for entry clearance from overseas.  Please note that this does not benefit people who would not usually qualify for an UK visa.  For example main Tier 2 Intra-company transfer visa holders who cannot switch employers will still not be allowed to do so.  Those who come under the one year cooling off period will also not be able to switch.  However, spouses and partners of Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa holders can now switch from a dependent visa to a Tier 2 General visa if they otherwise meet the requirements.  Tier 5 visa holders including those under the Tier 5 Youth mobility visa scheme can also switch to say a Tier 2 General visa.

No longer need original or certified copies of documents for Sponsor Licence applications

A huge burden even during normal times is meeting the confusing and complicated documentation requirements to apply for a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence and other types of Sponsor Licence.  Now copies of relevant documents such as bank statements, employers liability insurance, rental agreements, etc can be submitted. 

Doctors, nurses and paramedics whose visa expires before 1 October 2020 and who works for the NHS

The Government in a rate fit of generosity is providing a free one year extension for the main applicant and family members.  No application needs to be made.   NHS employers will be contacted to put this system into place.

No limit on number of hours that Tier 4 students and many others can work in NHS

If you are working in the NHS as a doctor, nurse or paramedic there is not limit on the number of hours that you can work.  This covers the following groups of people:

  • Tier 4 visa student
  • Tier 2 visa holder with the NHS job as a second job.
  • Visiting academic researcher
  • Short term visa holder who is permitted to volunteer

UK Visa application centres currently closed

You currently cannot complete an UK visa application from within the UK.  Appointments have been automatically rescheduled or you will receive a refund.  You should contact the Home Office using the details above to ask for an extension if your visa is due to expire by 31 May 2020.

Latest coronavirus updates, visa and immigration restrictions

For the latest updates on the coronavirus, plus details of visa and immigration restrictions worldwide, check Workpermit.com’s news section to stay informed.

Workpermit.com can help with Tier 2 Visa Sponsor Licence and Tier 2 Visa

If you need help with a Tier 2 visa, or a Tier 2 Sponsor Licence, including help with complying with your Tier 2 Sponsor Licence obligations, workpermit.com can help.

For more information and advice on Tier 2 Sponsor Licences, UK immigration law and UK visa applications please contact us on 0344 991 9222 or at london@workpermit.com