Recent UK Immigration News
UK Immigration law is renowned for its ever-changing nature, paired with the spread of the coronavirus, it is changing at a faster rate than ever before. We appreciate that these times are causing confusion and concern for all, so we have decided to provide you with the latest news to help you navigate through these changes.
The Proposed Points-Based System after Brexit
If you are planning to migrate to the UK from within the European Union from 31 January 2021, under the newly proposed Points-Based System, the Government plan toward points for skills and language, when allowing people to work in the UK. You must have:
- An approved job offer at an appropriate skill level; and
- Speak English.
The changes will apply to all migrants and not just EEA nationals. This is welcomed news as it will bring about more flexibility to the current Tier 2 category under the existing points-based system.
If you are Stuck in the UK
If you are in the UK on a visa that has or is due to expire and you are unable to leave due to the travel restrictions, please do not worry, you will not be punished for this. The UK Visas and Immigration have stated that if you are 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 this applies to you, you must contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team to update your records. You should do this by email to CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk. You must include: your full name, date of birth, nationality, a home office reference of your previous application, as well as an explanation as to why you are able to return to your home country.
If you are in the UK lawfully, you can also apply to switch to another visa until 31 May 2020. This includes applications where you would normally need to apply from your home country, for example, if you are in the UK on a visitor visa you will be able to switch to a Tier 1 (Investor). You will still need to meet the requirements and pay the application fees.
EU Settlement Scheme
On 30 March 2020, the UK Visas and Immigration announced that whilst applications under the EU Settlement Scheme are still being processed, the decision-making process is taking longer than usual.
In line with the latest advice from the Public Health England, they have also suspended the ID document scanning locations and will not be accepting any documents submitted by post. The helpline, Settlement Resolution Centre, have also had to temporarily stop answering telephone enquiries.
Please do not worry! You can still submit applications if you are eligible to use the “EU Exit ID Document check app” which can verify your identity document. The Settlement Resolution Centre are also responding to email enquiries and are operating a limited call back function, if required. If you have already provided documents by post in support of your application, these will be returned to you as soon as possible.
Our experienced solicitors at Immigration.UK understand that these changes can make you feel uncertain about your status in the UK. You have plenty of time to make an application under the EU Settlement Scheme, which will remain open until 30 June 2021 and we are constantly on hand to provide you with our expert support and guidance.
Applications from Outside the UK
Applications can still be submitted online, however the majority of visa application centres have closed, with more closing with each passing day. This means that you will not be able to complete the final stage of your application submission. Each visa application centre provider, such as TLScontact and VFS Global have updated their websites to inform applicants of their current status.
If you already had an appointment booked, you should be contacted by the centre to reschedule your appointment. Those awaiting a decision and require their passport to be returned should contact the visa centre provider, TLScontact or VFS Global.
Many visa application centres have also stopped accepting priority visa applications. If you have already paid for this service, please contact TLScontact or VFS Global to request a refund.
Applications from Within the UK
Applications can still be submitted online from within the UK, however, as the UK Visas and Immigration are operating a reduced service, they have urged that only urgent applications should be submitted.
Whilst you can still submit your application, you will not be able to enrol your biometrics as the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services, led by Sopra Steria, have currently suspended their services and cancelled all appointments to protect the health of customers and staff in light of the coronavirus outbreak. If you had an appointment that has now been cancelled, please do not worry, this will not have a negative impact on your application. The UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services will inform the UK Visas and Immigration and will reschedule your appointment automatically for the next available date. This will initially be rescheduled for 6 weeks ahead of your original appointment. You will be notified of your new appointment date via email.
English Testing Centres and Life in the UK Test Centres are also closed. Life in the UK Test Centres are closed until 13 April 2020. Any test booked in before this date will be automatically rescheduled for a future date.
It was announced today, 31 March 2020, that around 2800 doctors, nurses and paramedics whose visas are due to expire by 01 October 202 would get a free one-year extension. This extension also extends to their family members who currently reside in the UK as their dependants. There will be no application fees for this extension.
If you are a student nurse or doctor, you are also permitted to work more hours in excess of the restriction stated on your biometric residence permit.
Next steps: What we can do to help you
If you are currently experiencing any problems or have an enquiry, we are here to help!
Our business partners at Immigration.UK are Immigration Law experts who will guide and support you through these difficult times. They are a full-service firm who are regulated by the Solicitors’ Regulation Authority.
We strongly advise you to begin any application which you plan on making within the next 6 to 12 months, as soon as possible. This is because of the continued uncertainty over the coronavirus outbreak, casting doubt on the capability of banks, law firms and government departments to process your application, within the usual timeframes.
Astons is a leading global immigration advisory firm with offices in London, Beijing, Moscow, Dubai and Limassol (Republic of Cyprus) and offers residency & citizenship investment solutions worldwide including UK, Turkey, Vanuatu, EU & the Caribbean.
For further information or to discuss your personal circumstances in a private consultation, please contact Astons at email@example.com or call +44 207 292 2977