As the Coronavirus continues to impact lives around the world and the uncertainty grows, the Home Office are attempting to assist by producing regular guidance. However, this has led to more questions than answered, so we are back with our Frequently Asked Questions to help ease your concerns and clarify the Home Office position at present.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: I am a Tier 1 Entrepreneur Migrant and need to Furlough my employees, will this impact my future application?
A: Please do not worry! Many businesses are in the same position. You will obviously be mindful that you need to meet the job creation requirement of employing two full-time settled workers for a period of 12 months. These workers do not need to be employed for 12 consecutive months, meaning if they are not working at present that is fine, as long as in total you have created 2 full-time jobs totalling 12 months during your latest grant of leave. Unfortunately, furloughed employees will not count as they are not then working the minimum of 30 hours per week. However, if they begin working again once their furloughed period comes to an end, you can still rely on their employment, minus the furloughed period.
The Home Office have also stated that if you have not been able to employ 2 full-time workers 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.
Q: I applied for a visa and was granted a 30 day vignette to enter the UK but all flights are cancelled, what is going to happen?
A: Unfortunately, the Home Office have yet to introduce any concession to people in these circumstances. Until the Home Office state that they have or are going to implement special measures for people affected in this situation, then you should apply for a transfer of conditions application, ideally before your current vignette expires. This will then mean that once the Visa Application Centres have reopened, you will be issued with a new 30 day vignette allowing you to enter the UK.
Q: I am an employer and need to furlough my Tier 2 employee, is this allowed?
A: The guidance states that you can temporarily reduce the pay of your sponsored employees to 80% of their salary of £2,500 per month, whichever is lower. However, this must be part of a company-wide policy with the aim to avoid redundancies. The reductions must also be temporary and their salary must return to the level as stated on their CoS or their latest salary once these arrangements have ended.
Q: I am on a Tier 2 visa and work for the NHS as a nurse, will I get a visa extension?
A: The Home Office announced that it will automatically be extending, for a period of 1 year, the visas of doctors, nurses and paramedics working in the NHS. This is applicable if their visas are due to expire before 01 October 2020. This extension is free of charge, including the application fee and the immigration health surcharge. The Home Office have stated that those eligible do not need to make an application, but rather the Government will contact your NHS employer to facilitate this. The same applies if you have your family members residing in the UK as your dependants.
Q: My visa expires in May, what should I do?
A: The Home Office have confirmed that if your visa has expired or is due to expire 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 the coronavirus. To get this extension you must complete an online form which can be found here. The Home Office will respond within 5 working days to inform you if your extension request has been successful.
Q: I am wanting to apply for an Innovator visa but my endorsement letter expires soon, do I need to get a new one?
A: Even if your endorsement has expired, you can still make an application. The Home Office have confirmed that they will still consider your application. It is recommend that you explain your circumstances which lead to the endorsement letter expiring before you were able to apply. This also applies to those applying under the Global Talent and Start-up route.
Q: How can you help me?
A: We appreciate that the coronavirus has caused grave anxiety and concern for individuals and businesses alike, 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, our business partners at Immigration.UK, a specialist immigration law firm are offering free, no-obligation consultations. The experienced lawyers 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, they 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