UK visas further extended for those stranded by coronavirus

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Priti Patel Covid-19 Press Conference 22 May 2020

Andrew Parsons / No 10 Downing Street

Comments by Sanwar Ali:

You can benefit from a number of concessions currently in the UK due to coronavirus COVID-19: 

  • If you have a temporary visa that is due to expire between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 and you wish to stay on a short term basis, you can apply for an extension until 31 July 2020.  You should update your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) if your visa is expiring and you cannot leave due to travel restrictions or self-isolation due to coronavirus.
  • If your visa expires by 31 July 2020 and you wish to stay in the UK long term you can in many cases apply from within the UK.  This is the case even if you would usually need to apply from outside the UK.  This may help in situations where say a visitor wishes to switch to a Tier 2 visa, or to a marriage visa or say switch from a Tier 5 visa to a Tier 2 visa, etc.  In other respects you need to meet the requirements for the particular UK visa category.  For example, this does not help those on Tier 2 visas where a cooling off period applies.
  • If you are waiting in-country for decisions on your Tier 2 visa, Tier 5 visa or Tier 4 visa you can start work or in the case of the Tier 4 visa start your studies before the visa has been granted.  This applies if the Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) has been assigned for Tier 2 or Tier 5 visas or for Tier 4 visas you have been given a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS).

The Home Office has announced that UK visas for migrants stranded by the coronavirus will be further extended until 31 July, 2020. The extension applies to people whose UK leave to remain expired on or after 24 January and are unable to return home due to travel restrictions or coronavirus self-isolation protocols.

However, those in the UK on temporary visas, such as a visitor visa, have been told they must return home as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

The UK Home Secretary, Priti Patel, said: “By further extending the visas of people stranded in the UK and unable to return home because of the pandemic, we are giving them peace of mind that their immigration status is secure and they can remain in the country until the end of July.

“This is one of a number of unprecedented measures the government has made to support people during this time. However, as we begin a cautious return to normality those currently in the UK on expired visitor visas should return home as soon as possible,” Patel added.

Extension of an extension

The government’s latest visa extension announcement follows on from the previous extension of UK visa validity, which is set to expire on 31 May, 2020. The updated extension period ensures that those unable to leave the UK are not further affected by circumstances out of their control.

A dedicated coronavirus immigration team continues to assist individuals stranded in the UK, ensuring that extending visas is as smooth a process as possible.

For those seeking to remain in the UK long-term, the Home Office has announced that in-country visa switching provisions will also be extended until 31 July, 2020. Under normal rules, those looking to remain in the UK long-term would have to leave the country to apply to switch visas.

Application process may take longer

A statement published on the UK government’s official website said: “UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) will continue to process applications as quickly as possible, however some applications may take longer than usual due to coronavirus related operational pressures.”

Amid the pandemic, foreign nationals all over the world have found themselves stranded outside their home country due to flight cancellations and border lockdowns.

While the Home Office is allowing visa extensions in the current climate, the UK government agency has warned that as soon as flight and border restrictions are eased, those granted an extension will be expected to leave the UK as soon as possible once their visa extension expires.

The Home Office has stated that migrants will face no immigration enforcement action when contacting them to extend a visa.

Visa sponsor restrictions also eased

In addition to extending visas for those stranded in the UK, the Home Office has also eased a number of restrictions imposed on visa sponsors, including permission for non-EU nationals studying or working in the UK to study or work from home, without having to report this change to UKVI.

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 feed to stay informed.

To apply for a UK visa extension amid the coronavirus pandemic, see this recent Workpermit.com news report.

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