Covid 19 (Coronavirus) and Immigration – Latest update – In the UK

UK Visas and Immigration

This is the latest information from the UKVI as to concessions currently being offered.  We have previously blogged on the previous changes.  This current change came out on the 16 November 2020.

As the UK and the world face challenging months with Covid 19, the Home Office / UKVI has set up a Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) and released the following guidance.

In the UK

If you are in the UK and can leave the UK, you are expected to do so.  If you are in the UK but cannot leave, then you should make an application to regularise your stay. 

If you are in the UK and would like to leave or have tried to leave the UK but have not been able to leave and your visa expires between 1 November 2020 and 30 November 2020 then you can apply to the home office for “exceptional Assurance”.  This is done by completing an online form explaining your details and the situation.  The Home Office will consider the application and can grant you what they call “exceptional assurance” .

The term “exceptional assurance” is not granting leave but acts as safety net for the future.  It prevents any adverse or any consequences arising from you staying longer in the UK after your visa has expired.  The Home Office / UKVI refer to this as a “short term protection”. This means that you should not be classed as an ‘overstayer’ (someone who is in the UK illegally). 

The online application will request documents and evidence as to why you cannot leave so it is important to keep hold of  your evidence such as cancelled flights or you have tested positive for Covid 19 and are isolating. 

If you are in the UK and had intended to leave the UK to make an application from abroad, you can apply from within the UK but must meet the requirements for that visa and pay the appropriate fee. 

The UKVI also state that those who had a visa that expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 there are no adverse consequences for you if you did not apply to regularise your stay in the UK.  However, you need to take the above steps, either leave the UK or make an online application for “exceptional assurance” or applying for your next visa. 

Fingerprints and Biometrics

If you have had your fingerprints and biometrics taken before, you may not need to attend a UKVCAS appointment.  It is possible for the Home Office to use your previous data. An email will be sent to you if this applies to your situation. 

English Test Centres

If you need to book and English test the links and information is below:

  • Trinity College London (https://www.trinitycollege.com/qualifications/SELT/UKVI)
  • International English Language Testing System (IELTS) (https://www.ielts.org/book-a-test/find-a- test-location/location-list/united-kingdom/ukvi)
  • LanguageCert website (https://www.languagecert.org/uk-visa-exams)
    Pearson Test of English (https://pearsonpte.com/)

Tier 1 Entrepreneur

Currently the home office do not require you to prove that you have employed 2 people as required under this visa.  This is due to business es that have been affected by the Pandemic.  However, the Home Office will not accept employees that have been furloughed as meeting this requirement.  The home office is proposing extra time so extending your visa so that you can employ 2 people for 12 months consecutively.  These arrangements will apply for those of you who are applying after 31 May 2020 where the job market has been disrupted.

Tier 4 – Students

You can start your course or studies before your visa application has been decided 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 (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/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.

Tier 2 and Tier 5

You can start work before your visa application has been decided if:

  • you’ve 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.

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