Your Questions Answered: The Impact of Coronavirus on your Immigration Status
The new strain of the coronavirus, otherwise known as COVID-19 has changed society as we knew it, both domestically and internationally. The immigration system is no exception. With many people stuck in the UK and others stranded overseas awaiting to submit an application, the impact is wide ranging.
As the amount of businesses that are closing increases, the support for individuals impacted is decreasing, leaving many feeling anxious and unaware as to their rights. The Home Office are releasing guidance to address the concerns of those in the UK temporarily or require a visa to be here, however this guidance fails to address all concerns and is not the easiest to read. That is why we have compiled our frequently asked questions to clarify the Home Office position at present.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: My visa is due to expire next week but I will not be able to leave, what do I do?
A: Please do not worry! The Home Office have confirmed that no person who is in the UK legally but their visa is due to, or has already expired, and cannot leave because of travel restrictions related to the coronavirus will be regarded as an overstayer or suffer any detriment in the future. Your visa will be extended to 31 May 2020. You should contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team to advise them of your situation. Whilst they might not respond, the Home office have stated that they will update the relevant details on the UKVI databases to ensure that you will not be subject to enforcement action and/or be at a detriment for a future application.
Q: I just received my new Biometric Residence Permit and need to register with the police, do I still need to do this in 7 days?
A: Yes, you will still need to register your new BRP. However, at present the Government guidelines are to only go outside for food, health reasons or work. So, in order to follow the Government guidelines, you should only do this once the stay at home advice has been lifted. If you live in an area in London covered by the Metropolitan Police, you are able to book an appointment online for the Overseas Visitors Registration Office. You should aim to book the appointment within 7 days, even if the appointment itself is for a future date beyond 7 days.
Q: I am in the UK on a visitor visa and have been for fast-approaching 6 months, can I apply to be a Tier 1 (Investor) from inside the UK as I cannot go back home to apply?
A: Normally, you would need to return to your home country to make an application, however due to these unprecedented times, you will be able to switch in the UK until 31 May 2020. The Home Office have confirmed that this includes applications where you would usually need to apply from your home country. Please note, you will still need to meet the visa requirements and pay the UK visa application fee. For completeness, we would recommend obtaining evidence, or preparing a statement explaining your application and your circumstances which have led you to be unable to leave the UK.
Q: My business has a Sponsorship Licence, do I need to report sponsored employees absences and working from home?
A: Normally, the strict duties as a sponsor would require you to report these changes. However, the home Office have relaxed the rules meaning that due to the exceptional circumstances at present, you are not required to report these changes if they are directly related to coronavirus. If they are not directly related to the coronavirus, then you are still obliged to report as usual.
Q: I had my biometric enrolment appointment booked at a UKVCAS centre, but it was cancelled, will my application be rejected?
A: No, your application will not be rejected. As the majority of the UKVCAS centres have closed, lots of people are in the position of having their appointments cancelled. However, Sopra Steria (the company who run the UKVCAS centres) have confirmed that if you are affected, you do not need to do anything and they will automatically rebook any cancelled appointments at the same location in 6 weeks’ time and inform the Home Office accordingly. They have further stated that “no customers will be adversely impacted as a result of covid 19”. This does mean, however, that your application will not be considered until you have enrolled your biometrics.
Q: How can you help me?
A: We appreciate that the coronavirus has caused grave anxiety and concern for individuals, and with more and more businesses shutting up shop, people are feeling increasingly isolated and confused. We want to support people during these unprecedented time and as such, we are now offering free, no-obligation consultations that can take place over the phone or skype, on the same day you contact us. We can advise you on the current guidance and what it means for you. If your query relates to something that the Home Office are yet to address, we can send specific enquiries to our contacts in the Home Office to get a personalised answer for you. Whether you are looking for reassurance, guidance or practical advice – we are here to help!
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or call +44 207 292 2977