The Home Office has recently published guidance in light of the latest travel restrictions associated with the ongoing Coronavirus outbreak which originated in China. The guidance provides advice to Chinese nationals and residents of China who are currently in the UK whose leave may be affected, such as those who are currently on a standard visitor visa that has or is about to expire. This recent update allows certain people to have their leave in the UK temporarily automatically extended in order to adhere to the travel restrictions whilst not becoming an overstay. To understand the Home Office’s recent concessions and to ensure that you remain compliant with the UK’s immigration laws, contact our LEXVISA immigration team in order to arrange a consultation with our solicitors and get the proper legal advice you need.
What is the Coronavirus and what are the travel restrictions currently in place?
The Coronavirus has been headline news across the world since the beginning of the year and originated in the Hubei Province of China in December 2019. According to the World Health Organisation, the new flu strain, similar to the SARS Virus a few years ago, can cause respiratory infections and is specifically dangerous to the elderly and those with a weak immune system. Over the last couple of months, the virus has spread and the Foreign Office travel advice for China advises against all travel to the Hubei Province and against all but essential travel to the rest of China at the time of writing. This is due to the recent and continuing outbreak of Coronavirus. A large number of airlines, including British Airways and Virgin Atlantic, have announced the suspension of flights to and from mainland China in order to reduce the spread of the virus. It has also been advised that travellers to mainland China also check with their travel provider for any changes to restrictions.
What does the Home Office advice in relation to the Coronavirus travel restrictions?
In light of the Coronavirus outbreak and the above-mentioned travel restrictions, the Home Office has said that most Chinese nationals and residents of China whose UK immigration status has been affected by the virus will get an automatic extension of leave until 31 March 2020, providing that the individual has been compliant with the rules and restrictions imposed on them. Individuals do not need to apply for the extension as it is automatic and they will be subject to the same immigration conditions as under their initial visa. For example, work would still be prohibited for those who are in the UK on a standard visitor visa. No new BRP will be issued but the new expiry date will be added to UKVI’s electronic systems.
There are also temporary provisions for Chinese nationals who are currently in the UK on a Tier 2 (ICT) visa and intend to switch into the Tier 2 (General) visa category. Under usual circumstances, Applicants would need to return to China to apply for the Tier 2 (General) visa, however, if the Tier 2 (ICT) visa expires between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020 then they can apply to switch to the Tier 2 (General) visa from within the UK under ‘exceptional circumstances’. All the other Tier 2 (General) requirements will need to be met for a successful application. The Home Office has also set up a dedicated coronavirus immigration helpline for those who need to discuss an extension of leave.
Using Legal Representation for advice on UK Visas and Immigration Applications
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 UK Visas and Immigration Applications
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 meet 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.