The impact of Coronavirus (COVID 19) on the UK Immigration System
by Angel Masih, Immigration Solicitor at Deo Volente
There is a growing concern about the rapid spread of the coronavirus also known as COVID 19 and the impact it will have on the UK immigration services.
Home Secretary, Priti Patel confirmed on 24th March 2020:
· Visa nationals who cannot return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to extend their visa.
· This will apply to anyone whose leave expired after 24th January 2020 and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation.
· This will last until 31st May 2020 and this will be reviewed on a regular basis if further extensions are needed.
The Home Office has temporarily permitted individuals to switch routes from within the UK. For example, an individual will be able to switch from a Tier 4 (Student) to Tier 2 (General Worker).
The UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UK VCAS)
Sopra Steria have advised that those suffering with coronavirus symptoms should self-isolate and those with coronavirus must not attend their appointment.
Most pre-booked appointments are being automatically re-booked at the same location, approximately in six weeks’ time. Sopra Steria will also notify the Home Office of these changes.
UK Visas application centers (VACs) based abroad
VFS Global who manage visa services outside of the UK, have stopped accepting applications from most of the countries around the world. A full list of these countries can be found through the below link:
Immigration Tribunal Hearings
President of the First Tier Tribunal has stated that “From 25th March 2020, there will be no face to face hearings listed in any centre. Application for bail and emergency work will continue to be given priority but, save in exceptional circumstance, applications and hearing will be conducted remotely”.
At Deo Volente Solicitors, we understand that individuals will be facing uncertainty relating to their immigration status and we are happy to assist you during this difficult time. We are further offering telephone consultations to address any queries that you may have.
Please do not hesitate to contact us on 01234 350244 and speak to one of our team members within the immigration department.