While there has been a deluge of information about the Coronavirus and its implications for work, socialising, and education, you might have wondered how the Coronavirus is going to affect your ongoing immigration matters.
Some information about the impact of Coronavirus on immigration has been released by the Home Office but it can be difficult to find, if you don’t know where to look, and it doesn’t give a comprehensive update about the current immigration situation in the UK. The one thing we do know is that, for the time being, no-one is going anywhere fast.
The information in this post was correct at the time at writing but with the situation constantly evolving, keep an eye on the Home Office website for updates.
If you recently made a successful entry clearance application, you are nevertheless unlikely to be able to be able to enter the UK for the foreseeable future.While the EU has closed its borders to those from outside the European bloc (as have Iceland, Switzerland, Lichtenstein and Norway), the UK has yet to do so. However, the UK authorities have advised against all non-essential travel and commercial flights are becoming increasingly unavailable. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office advise all British nationals abroad to return to the UK as quickly as possible, before they are no longer able to do so.
If you were in the process of completing an entry clearance application and had an appointment booked at a visa centre in your country of origin (to provide your biometrics to complete your application), you should check online to see if the relevant visa centre is still open.
Many visa centres across the world are already indefinitely closed. If the visa centre you are due to attend is still open, you should contact them before your appointment to check what, if any, additional security or safety measures they have put in place for those seeking to attend their appointments. Bear in mind that being able to attend the visa centre abroad does not been you will be able to enter the UK at this time.
If the visa centre you were due to attend is closed, all you can do is wait until it opens again and then rebook your missed appointment, or check to see if a new date has been automatically allocated to you. Upcoming appointments that are going to be missed cannot now be rebooked online for any visa centre which is already closed.
Many visa centres in the UK are also closed and booked appointments are being rescheduled for six weeks’ time. The centre in Glasgow remains open for the moment, but this is liable to change.
What should you do if you are already in the UK on a visa that is about to expire?
Well, in relation to Chinese nationals, the Home Office says, Yesterday the Home Office announced that anyone whose right to remain in the UK expired on or after 24 January 2020 will have their status extended until 31 May 2020, if they are unable to return home due to Coronavirus-related travel restrictions or self-isolation.
We also know that the Home Office are no longer requiring colleges and universities to report student absences which arise as a result of the Coronavirus. So, if you can’t attend classes because your university has shut down, for example, you will not be held to have breached the conditions of your visa.
Until further information is released on Home Office policy, you should continue to renew your leave to remain as normal, wherever possible.
If you are on immigration bail in the UK and you were given a date to report you no longer need to attend the Home Office on that date to do so. You ought to have received notification from the Home Office to that effect, and you will be contacted in due course when you need to report in the future.
All cases which were due to call at the First-Tier Tribunal or Upper Tribunal for immigration or asylum cases have now been cancelled. This includes both substantive appeal hearings and Case Management Reviews (procedural hearings). Appeal cases will be adjourned and re-listed for a later date, although as yet there has been no information released about when cases might start being heard again.
Finally, while firms like Jones Whyte continue to work on cases and progress our clients’ cases with as little disruption as possible, it remains unclear how much longer the Home Office will continue to accept the lodging of new applications.Similarly, there is no way to know at the moment if decisions on visa applications will continue to be made, or if a moratorium will be put in place for as long as immigrants would be unable to enter the country on newly-granted visas.
For the latest information on Home Office policy and immigration information, visit the government website at or contact our expert team on 0141 375 1222, email@example.com.
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