New Home Office Guidance for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents in light of Coronavirus (COVID-19)
On 24th March 2020, the Home Office published guidance for visa applicants in the UK, visa applicants outside of the UK and British nationals overseas who need to apply for a passport affected by travel restrictions associated with the coronavirus.
The key points include:
Applicants is in the UK with leave expiring between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020
The visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if the applicant is unable to leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation relating to COVID-19.
The applicant will be required to update their records with the Coronavirus immigration team in the event the visa is expiring and there were no plans for them to stay in the UK.
Applying to stay in the UK long-term
Applications can be made from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May 2020. This includes applications that would usually be made for a visa from the home country of the applicant.
The applicant will need to meet the requirements of the route they are applying for and pay the UK application fee. This includes those whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020.
The terms of the leave will remain the same until the application is decided.
Application and Service Centres in the UK
UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of COVID-19.
Applicants cannot book an appointment.
If an appointment has already been made
The applicant will be contacted to be informed that it has been cancelled. The applicant will be advised when they can book a new appointment.
The applicant’s immigration status in the UK will not change as a result of the appointment being re-arranged/cancelled.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and the business
There is no longer a requirement to employ at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months each. The 12 month period that is required to employ someone can be made up of multiple employees across different months.
The period of the employees being furloughed will not count towards the 12 month period.
If the staff have not been employed for 12 months in total by the time the visa expires, a temporary extension to stay will be provided to meet the requirement.
Doctor, nurses or paramedics working for the NHS
The visa will be automatically extended by one year if it is due to expire before 1 October 2020. Family members with a visa due to expire before 1 October 2020 will also have their visa extended.
The extension is free and the applicant will not have to pay the immigration health surcharge.
The applicant does not need to apply, the Home Office will contact NHS employers to identify the staff that are eligible for this extension.
Changes to the current restrictions on the number of hours of work or volunteering
There is no longer a limit on the number of hours of work or volunteering each week if the applicant works for the NHS as a doctor, nurse or a paramedic and the applicant is a:
- tier 4 student
- tier 2 worker and the NHS job is a second job
- visiting academic researcher
- holder of a short-term visa and are permitted to volunteer
Pre-registration nurse in the UK
The deadline to sit the Occupational Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) has been extended to 31 December 2020.
Applicants outside the UK
All UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed.
If the applicant has an appointment and the VAC is now closed, the applicant will be contacted with cancellation confirmation.
English Testing Centres are also affected.
For updates to the status of VACs in your country please contact the Toller’s immigration team.
Documents of the applicants
Due to worldwide border, travel and public health restrictions it may not be possible for the return of the passports at this time.
Should the applicant require the return of the passport, they must contact the visa application centre where the application was logged, to see if courier return is available in their location.
British nationals abroad who need to apply for a passport
If VAC is closed in the area, then an application for a British passport cannot be made. For urgent matters an application for an emergency travel document can be made.
Global Talent, Start-up or Innovator visa
If the endorsement from an endorsing body has expired because the applicant has not been able to travel to the UK, they may still be eligible for a visa. The application should be made as planned and the Home Office will consider all applications on a case by case basis.
If you require any specific advice or support regarding Visa’s, temporary UK Residency or on any other immigration matter …Talk to Tollers on 01604 258558 to arrange an initial telephone or video consultation with Tollers Immigration Expert Minara Hannan or email email@example.com