Sanwar Ali: UK and US Visas and Travel Review for 3 May 2020

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By Sanwar Ali

This is a  review of recent visa-related news for the US and the UK and travel.  In recent months news internationally has been dominated by the coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic.  Currently travelling by air is difficult all over the World due to the pandemic.  Many airlines are not flying or are only offering a limited service due to travel restrictions. 

Even though there are no travel restrictions imposed by the UK the situation in other Countries makes travel in and out of the UK difficult.  The US has banned travel for those who have visited numerous Countries around the World.

All UK healthcare workers on "list" eligible for free one year visa extension.

UK visas at the Home Office has confirmed on 29 April 2020 that the free one year extension covers all visa holders on the list of front line health care workers, whose visa is due to expire by 1 October.  Not just Tier 2 visa holders and not just NHS health care workers. 

On the same day UK visas at the Home office extended the free one year visa extension scheme to cover other “frontline workers, including midwives, radiographers, social workers and pharmacists”.   Those previously included on the list were doctors, nurses and paramedics

Migration Watch proposed ban on entry of over 50s

Migration Watch UK wants to ban entry of those who are over 50 years of age.  They are known for taking an anti-immigration view on UK visa policy.  Certain reports that they have published have been very misleading.  Banning entry to people over 50 years of age due to coronavirus COVID-19 is likely to be very controversial.   Somewhat bizarrely the founder of Migration Watch Andrew Green was made a life peer.  Lord Green is 78 years old.

UK visa hostile environment policy continues

With coronavirus, probably you cannot afford to be too tough on immigration.  There has been a great deal of criticism of the hostile environment policy at UK visas of the Home Office, originally introduced by Theresa May who was at the time in 2012 the Conservative Home Secretary.  Numerous scandals include the well known Windrush scandal where many people of Caribbean ancestry were badly treated by the Home Office, and in some cases deported.  

US Supreme refusal to suspend public charge rule may affect anti coronavirus measures

Governments around the World both left-wing and right-wing have to a great extent pursued similar policies. There has been action on an international and national scale to deal with the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. 

To have a successful policy you need to have migrants including illegal immigrants being part of the plan to keep coronavirus at bay.  Perhaps to a certain extent you need to provide free healthcare to all in the US, and make sure that there will not be any negative consequences for migrants in the US.

Very limited Trump US Immigration Ban

On Monday 20 April 2020 Donald Trump made a typically confusing and widely misunderstood tweet relating to an immigration ban, to be put into place apparently due to coronavirus.  After seeing the tweet and based on other comments made by Trump, many people thought that there would be a wide ranging ban on immigration.  The situation was clarified further on Wednesday 22 April 2020 in the Presidential Proclamation, when we found out that the ban would only apply for visa processing outside the US for certain Green Card applicants.  As it is difficult to gain entry to the US anyway this latest Trump Immigration Ban may not make that much difference at the moment.

Latest coronavirus updates, visa and immigration restrictions

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