The UK Government has regularly published updated guidance throughout this pandemic for UK Visas and Immigration matters. In particular, the Government has introduced measures such as short-term visa extensions and new visa switching options for migrants in the UK looking to apply for a long-term visa under the Immigration Rules. The Government has also authorised the reopening of the UKVCAS Sopra Steria visa application centres in order for certain Applicants to provide their Biometric information and documents for their visa applications.
Coronavirus update on visa extensions until 31 July 2020
Initially, the Home Office introduced a visa extension option for anyone with a valid visa expiring after 24 January 2020 and before 31 May 2020. The purpose of this visa extension was to assist migrants in the UK who could not leave due to the Coronavirus pandemic. The visa extension was not automatic and migrants had to make a formal request for the short-term visa to be granted. This visa is was valid until 31 May 2020. However, as the current situation has not improved and the strict lock down is still in place; on 22 May 2020, the government announced that it had decided to extend the visa extension scheme until 31 July 2020. The key difference in policy was that migrants who had already applied for the previous visa extension would have their visa automatically extended. However, migrants who have not already asked for an extension are required to make a request for this visa extension to apply to them. View the online form.
Coronavirus update on switching visa categories in-country
Under normal circumstances, migrants in the UK on short-term visas cannot apply to switch into long-term visas. However, the Home Office has relaxed this rule and are currently accepting applications from migrants on short-term visas. This includes business visa related applications such as the Tier 1 Innovator, Tier 1 Start-up and Sole Representative visa applications. Family reunification and Tier 4 Student visas can also be submitted. In order to apply for a long-term visa under the new relaxed guidance, you must have a valid visa short-term (i.e. visitor visa) until 31 July 2020.
Coronavirus update 14-day quarantine rules on entry to the UK
The UK Government is regularly taking advice from Public Health England (PHE) and is updating its measures and protocols to protect the public in an attempt to control the spread of the virus. In addition to the lockdown and social distancing measures, the Government has also introduced a 14-day compulsory quarantine for British citizens and migrant visa holders coming to the UK after 8 June 2020. There is a separate list of exceptions, including for arrivals from within the Common Travel Area covering the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands. Migrants without pre-arranged accommodation will be required to self-isolate in accommodation arranged by the Government. A failure to comply with these new measures will result in a fine ranging from £100 to £1000 depending on the offence. Those who continue to fail to comply with these rules may be subject to further criminal prosecution. The 14-day quarantine policy will be reviewed every three weeks. Therefore, the earliest estimated date that this rule will be reviewed is 29 June 2020.
Coronavirus update Immigration Health Surcharge
There has been a lot of controversy regarding the Immigration Health Surcharge payment for key front line workers in the NHS. As it stands, all migrants in the UK on a long-term visa must pay £400 per year towards the NHS. In return, migrants can access the NHS. The Government has been criticised for not removing this charge for NHS workers as they risk their lives on a daily basis to serve and protect the British public. The Home Secretary has pledged to scrap the payment for NHS all workers. It is reported the Government is currently looking at ways to implement this change.
The Government has also introduced a bereavement scheme for family members of deceased NHS workers. Family members of NHS workers, support staff and social care workers who die from COVID-19 will be able to get indefinite leave to remain for free. According to the latest guidance this should be automatic but those affected are recommended to contact [email protected].
Coronavirus update UKVCAS visa applications centres reopen
As of today 1 June 2020, the Government has authorised the reopening of some UKVCAS application centres for existing customers who had their appointments cancelled or rescheduled due to the suspension. We have noted that UKVCAS has cancelled the rescheduled appointments and applicants must now manually book another point, which is contrary to the official advice from UKVCAS. The UKVCAS centres will remain closed for new customers who had submitted their applications after the suspension. However, we are confident that the centres will reopen for new applications submitted after the suspension by the end of the month.
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.