Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents

| Apr 29, 2020
This is advice for visa customers and applicants in the UK, visa customers outside of the UK and British nationals overseas who need to apply for a passport affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus. If you’re in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020 If you’re working for the NHS If you’re outside the UK Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre If you’re in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020 Your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). You must request an extension by updating your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) if your visa is expiring and you cannot leave the UK at present but are not planning to stay in the UK in the long term. If you’re applying to stay in the UK long-term You can apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May 2020. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country. You’ll need to meet the requirements of the route you are applying for and pay the UK application fee. This includes those whose leave has already been automatically extended to 31 March 2020. You can apply online. The terms of your leave will remain the same until your 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 coronavirus (COVID-19). You cannot book an appointment. If you’ve already made an appointment If you’ve already made an appointment to attend a UKVCAS or an SSC, you will be contacted to be informed that it has been cancelled. You’ll be advised when you can book a new appointment. Your immigration status in the UK will not change as a result of you not being able to attend an appointment. If you are on a Tier 1 Entrepreneur visa and your business has been disrupted You no longer need to employ at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months each. The 12 month period you are 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. If you have not been able to employ staff for 12 months in total by the time your visa expires, you will be allowed to temporarily extend your stay to give you time to meet the requirement. These arrangements will continue for applications made after 31 May 2020, where the jobs you are relying on were disrupted due to COVID-19. If you’ve applied for a Tier 4 visa and are waiting for a decision on your application You can start your course or studies before your visa application has been decided if: your sponsor is a Tier 4 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. If you’ve applied for a Tier 2 or 5 visa and are waiting for a decision on your application You can start work before your visa application has been decided if: you have been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS) you submitted your application before your current visa expired and you show your sponsor evidence of this the job you start is the same as the one listed on your CoS If your application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused your sponsor will stop sponsoring you and you must stop working for them. If you need more information about the measures in place for students and their sponsors You can read detailed guidance on the temporary measures in place for Tier 4 sponsors, their students and short-term students in response to the COVID-19 outbreak. If you’re working for the NHS Some NHS workers and their families will get their visas automatically extended because of coronavirus. Changes to the current restrictions on the number of hours you can work or volunteer There is no longer a limit on the number of hours you can work or volunteer each week if you work for the NHS as a doctor, nurse or paramedic and you are a: tier 4 student tier 2 worker and your NHS job is a second job visiting academic researcher holder of a short-term visa and are permitted to volunteer If you’re a pre-registration nurse in the UK, the deadline for you to sit the Occupational Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) has been extended to 31 December 2020. If you’re outside the UK All UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed. For updates to the status of VACs in your country, contact: TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East VFS global for all other countries In some areas UKVI cannot send visa vignettes across borders and routes due to restrictions. If you have an appointment and the VAC is now closed, you’ll be contacted and told your appointment will not take place. English Testing Centres are also affected. Visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website or contact your test centre for more information. Getting your documents Due to worldwide border, travel and public health restrictions it may not be possible to return your passport at this time. If you have submitted your passport and would like it returned, you must contact the visa application centre where you logged your application to see if courier return is available in your location.   British nationals abroad who need to apply for a passport If your country‘s VAC is closed, you won’t be able to apply for a British passport. If you urgently need to travel to the UK, you can apply for an emergency travel document. If you are applying for a Global Talent, Start-up or Innovator visa If your endorsement from an endorsing body has expired because you have not been able to travel to the UK you may still be eligible for a visa. You should make your application as planned and we will consider all applications on a case by case basis. If your 30 day visa to work, study or join family has expired If your 30 day visa to travel to the UK for work, study or to join family has expired, or is about to expire, you can request a replacement visa with revised validity dates free of charge until the end of this year. To make a request, contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. You’ll need to include your name, nationality, date of birth and your GWF reference number with ‘REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA’ in the subject line. If you’ve already contacted us about this, please let us know in your email. You’ll be contacted when our VACs reopen to arrange for a replacement visa to be endorsed in your passport. You will not be penalised for being unable collect your BRP while coronavirus measures are in place. This process will be in place until the end of 2020. If you have immigration queries related to coronavirus, please email the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk. Your email must be in English. You can also call the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. If you’ve emailed the help centre already, please do not contact them by phone. Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Visiting the UK after Brexit

| Apr 12, 2019
What you’ll need to enter the UK If the UK leaves the EU with a deal If the UK leaves the EU with a deal, what you’ll need to enter the UK will not change until 2021. If the UK leaves the EU without a deal If you’re an Irish citizen, you’ll be able to enter the UK without a visa, as you can now. You’ll be able to work or study while you’re here. You’ll be able to enter the UK without a visa if you’re a citizen of any other EU or EEA country, or Switzerland. You’ll be able to work or study while you’re here. The government is proposing to end free movement, but this is still subject to approval by Parliament. Once free movement has ended, if you’re a citizen of any other EU or EEA country, or Switzerland, you’ll still be able to enter the UK without a visa but only for up to 3 months

Windrush Compensation Scheme

| Apr 12, 2019
You may be able to claim compensation through the Windrush Compensation Scheme if you suffered a loss because you could not demonstrate your lawful right to live in the UK. Call us now to discuss this further.

Statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC667, 3 November 2016

| Nov 07, 2016
Statement of Changes to the Immigration Rules HC667 was laid out on the 3rd November 2016.The more significant changes are to Tier 2 skileld workers, for whom the minimum salary level is increased, to Tier 4, the introduction of a new English language requirement for family immigration and the abolition of the 28 day grace period for making out of time immigration applications. Some of the main substantive changes are outlined in an accompanying press release: Tier 2 Implement the first of 2 phases of changes to Tier 2, announced by the government in March following a review by the Independent Migration Advisory Committee. Increasing the Tier 2 (General) salary threshold for experienced workers to £25,000, with some exemptions Increasing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) salary threshold for short term staff to £30,000 Reducing the Tier 2 (Intra-Company Transfer) graduate trainee salary threshold to £23,000 and increasing the number of places to 20 per company per year Closing the Tier 2 (Intra Company Transfer) skills transfer sub-category These changes will come into effect for all certificates of sponsorship assigned by Tier 2 sponsors on or after 24 November 2016. The date from which intra company transfers will be liable for the health surcharge will be announced in due course. Tier 4 A number of changes are being made, including amendments to the academic progression rule, maintenance requirements for the Doctorate Extension Scheme and evidence of overseas qualifications, UK qualifications used as evidence, and a series of minor and technical adjustments. English language requirement As announced in January this year, a new English language requirement at level A2 of the Common European Framework of Reference for Languages is being introduced for non-EEA partners and parents. This affects those applying to extend their stay after 2.5 years in the UK on a 5-year route to settlement under Appendix FM (Family Member) of the Immigration Rules. The new requirement will apply to partners and parents whose current leave under the family Immigration Rules is due to expire on or after 1 May 2017. The abolition of the 28 day period of permissible overstay for the purpose of making a new application is big and very unwelcome news. The various references to the 28 day rule are replaced with reference to a new paragraph 39E which applies where: (1) the application was made within 14 days of the applicant’s leave expiring and the Secretary of State considers that there was a good reason beyond the control of the applicant or their representative, provided in or with the application, why the application could not be made in-time; or (2) the application was made: (a) following the refusal of a previous application for leave which was made in-time or to which sub-paragraph (1) applied; and (b) within 14 days of: (i) the refusal of the previous application for leave; or (ii) the expiry of any leave extended by section 3C of the Immigration Act 1971; or (iii) the expiry of the time-limit for making an in-time application for administrative review or appeal (where applicable); or (iv) any administrative review or appeal being concluded, withdrawn or abandoned or lapsing. The Explanatory Memorandum explains the new approach thus: The 28-day period is therefore to be abolished. However, an out of time application will not be refused on the basis that the applicant has overstayed where the Secretary of State considers that there is a good reason beyond the control of the applicant or their representative, given in or with the application, why an in time application could not be made, provided the application is made within 14 days of the expiry of leave. There will presumably be guidance forthcoming on what might constitute a “good reason”, which will be crucial. Provision is also made so that those who made use of the 28 day rule while it existed are not penalised when it comes to continuous residence applications further down the line. Other changes include: Tightening up refusals on public policy grounds to provide for mandatory rather than discretionary refusals. Adjusting and rewording the rules on validity of applications. Relatively minor clarification and changes to Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) The upper age limit of 65 for domestic workers in private households is removed along with some other changes to domestic worker categories. Incorporating existing EU safe third country law into the Immigration Rules. Slight clarification of the Administrative Review process. Various amendments to the family and private life rules including decreasing the threshold for refusal because of NHS debt from £1000 to £500 and adjustments to the specified evidence provisions. Slight relaxation of the rules on visitors so that refusal is not mandatory where a person previously breached immigration laws, is now outside the re-entry ban period and has since then been readmitted to the UK. If diving into the detail, the best place to start is the accompanying Explanatory Memorandum.

UK IMMIGRATION RULES CHANGES FOR OCTOBER 2015

| Nov 21, 2015
Most of the following changes affect applications made on or after 19 November 2015. Asylum EU nationals will not be able to make asylum claims, unless exceptional circumstances apply. Clarifying the circumstances in which refugee status will be withdrawn. Settlement Indefinite leave and naturalisation applicants, who normally rely on an English language qualification, will need to take a Secure English Language Test. The introduction of the £35k minimum earnings threshold for Tier 2 settlement, which will come into force on 6 April 2016. Family/Private Life Child’s application for entry clearance will be refused where the Secretary of State considers that the sponsor or the sponsor’s partner poses a risk to the child. Tier 1 (Exceptional Talent) of the Points Based System Criteria through which Tech City UK endorses Exceptional Talent applicants has been amended to better reflect the skills and experience of target applicants who are most likely to add value to the UK digital technology sector. Tiers 2 and 5 of the Points Based System Four jobs in the digital technology sector (product manager, data scientist, senior developer and cyber security specialist) are being added to the Shortage Occupation List (SOL), alongside nursing Clarification of the charity worker rules for sponsors and applicants. Setting the annual allocation of places available under the Youth Mobility Scheme for 2016. Minor amendments to the list of Government Authorised Exchange Schemes. For information visit www.gov.uk/government/collections/immigration-rules-statement-of-changes

Rules restricting the flow of nurses into Britain are to be lifted

| Nov 17, 2015
Rules restricting the flow of nurses into Britain are to be lifted in response to widespread shortages of workers across the National Health Service. Nurses will now be added to the Government's Shortage Occupation List on an interim basis, pending further work by the independent Migration Advisory Committee.This temporary rule change will mean that nurses from outside the European Economic Area that apply to work in the UK will have their applications for nursing posts prioritised. This change will be subject to review by the independent Migration Advisory Committee, which will present further evidence to the Government by February 2016.

Changes to English Language Requirements for Indefinite Leave and Naturalisation applicants

| Nov 12, 2015
From the 19 November 2015 Indefinite leave and Naturalisation applicants will have to sit tougher UK immigration English language tests called Secure English Language Tests as part of the new requirements for Indefinite Leave and Naturalisation Applications. Other English language qualifications will no longer be accepted from this date by the UKBA.

Citizens of EU and EEA countries and their family members must now apply for permanent residence card for British nationality applications

| Nov 12, 2015
From 12 November 2015,Citizens of EU and EEA countries and their family members must now apply for permanent residence card for British nationality applications under the British Nationality (General) (Amendment No. 3) Regulations 2015 (SI 2015/1806).

Travelling to work 'is work', European court rules

| Nov 11, 2015
The European Court of Justice has ruled in the case of "(Federación de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and another [2015] IRLR 935 ECJ)" that time spent travelling to and from first and last appointments by workers without a fixed or habitual place of work should be regarded as working time under the Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC). This means Employers including those employing care workers, gas fitters and sales reps may be in breach of EU working time regulations.

Travelling to work 'is working Time', European court rules

| Nov 10, 2015
The European Court of Justice has ruled in the case of "(Federación de Servicios Privados del sindicato Comisiones Obreras v Tyco Integrated Security SL and another [2015] IRLR 935 ECJ)" that time spent travelling to and from first and last appointments by workers without a fixed or habitual place of work should be regarded as working time under the Working Time Directive (2003/88/EC). This means Employers including those employing care workers, gas fitters and sales reps may be in breach of EU working time regulations.