In response to the rapid increase of COVID-19 cases across the UK, the Government has announced a second nationwide lockdown to help slow down the rate of infection across the UK. The tougher new restrictions will no doubt impact migrants looking to apply for UK Visas or Immigration appeals. The second lockdown is set to remain in place until 2 December 2020. However, there is a good chance that it may be extended if the rate of infection does not drop. On 5 November 2020, UK Visas and Immigration has updated its COVID-19 guidance for migrants who are directly impacted by the second lockdown.
If you are already in the UK on a valid visa
If you arrived in the UK on a valid visa that is set to expire between 1 November and 30 November 2020, you should try to leave before the expiry of your visa. However, if you have tried to depart but have not been able to so you may request additional time to stay; known as ‘exceptional assurance’, by completing the online form for short-term protection. If you are successful your visa conditions will continue i.e. permission to work or study. It is not a grant of leave to remain.
Once you have submitted the exceptional assurance form the UKVI will request for evidence to show why you can’t leave the UK. If you cannot leave by the assurance date given by the Home Office you must reapply through the online form. You’ll need to clearly state that you’re making a subsequent application. You’ll be asked to provide new supporting evidence.
Submitting a UK Visa application from with the UK
If your leave expired after 31 October 2020 you should act immediately to regularise your status in the UK. The UKVI has made it clear that if you wish to stay in the UK, you should apply for leave to remain in the UK. The UKVI will accept applications from within the UK where you would usually be required to apply for from outside the UK. The terms of your leave will remain the same until your application is decided. Applicants who are applying to switch into work or student visas may be able to start their job/course whilst the application is under consideration.
Overstaying your visa during Coronavirus Pandemic
If your visa expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 you will not face adverse immigration consequences for future applications. However, Applicants are advised to act immediately to regularise their visa status or apply for exceptional assurance by completing the online form.
Biometric appointments at Visa Applications Centres
A large number of visa application centres have reopened for existing customers. Applicants can check which UKVCAS centres are open and book an appointment if they have not already done so. If there are no available appointments UKVCAS will email Applicants once further a further allocation has been issued. Applicants who have already booked appointments but have been cancelled will be contacted via email with new times and dates.
In some circumstances, Applicants may not be required to provide a fresh set of biometric information because the Home Office may wish to reuse the fingerprints already on the system.
Visa extensions for Tier 1 Entrepreneurs
The UKVI has relaxed the job creation requirement by no longer requiring Applicants to have employed at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months. The 12 month period you’re required to employ someone for can be made up of multiple jobs across different months. Time, when your employees were furloughed, will not count towards the 12 month period. Applicants who do not meet the job creation requirement can apply for a short-term extension to give them time to meet the requirement.
If you are unsure about the requirements for a Tier 1 Entrepreneur extension application we strongly recommend you contact our business immigration team for more advice on the matter as a failure to extend your Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa could have serious consequences on the future of your business.
Studying on Student visas during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Applicants can start their course or studies before their visas have been issued if:
- your sponsor is a Student sponsor
- you have been given a confirmation of acceptance for studies (CAS)
- you submitted your application before your current visa expired and you show your sponsor evidence of this
- the course you start is the same as the one listed on your CAS
- you have a valid Academic Technology Approval Scheme (ATAS) certificate if required
If your application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused you must stop your course or studies.
Working on a Tier 2 or Tier 5 visa during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Applicants can start working for their Sponsor before their visas have been issued if:
- Applicant has been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS);
- Applicant has submitted application before the expiry of their current visa and can provide the sponsor evidence of the same;
- The job the Applicant starts is the same as the one listed on the CoS.
If your application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused your sponsor will stop sponsoring you and you must stop working for them.
Providing solutions to immigration issues not addressed by the Home Office
Our specialist immigration team can provide assistance and solutions to complex immigration issues that may not have considered by the Home Office when publishing its Coronavirus guidance. There are always new issues that can arise out of unique circumstances. Our immigration team has ample experience in assisting with new issues and can liaise with the Home Office on your behalf.
Can I still see an immigration lawyer given the Coronavirus Pandemic?
Yes. We are a technologically advanced law firm and are well equipped for the current situation and have the resources and infrastructure to support you with any UK immigration issue.
The well-being of our team and our clients is our priority. We are following the advice to maintain social distancing; therefore we will hold all meetings with clients via video conferencing or via our telephone conferencing facilities for the foreseeable future. Please contact our Immigration Team to arrange a consultation with us so we can assess your case in more detail and give you advice specific to your individual circumstances.
Using our Immigration Solicitors in London for Immigration advice during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative in order to advise on a UK Visa and Immigration application.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful applications using our Immigration Solicitors in London during the Coronavirus Pandemic
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department.
We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to speak with one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.