Just when London immigration solicitors thought that the worst of phase one of Brexit was over the world is hit by Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Now we realise how Brexit was ‘’nothing’’ in comparison to coronavirus and the global impact on families and businesses. The realities of coronavirus for many international families is particularly painful and worrying when loved ones have come over to the UK to work or study or to join other family members. Prior to the pandemic it was comforting to think that they were only “a plane journey away” but getting to them is no longer as easy as it was a few short weeks ago. In this blog we look at the government immigration guidance on coronavirus.
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If you have questions about any aspect of personal immigration or business immigration law or you are worried about coronavirus and your immigration status then the specialist immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors can offer advice through video conferencing, Skype or telephone appointments. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.
Coronavirus and UK immigration questions
The government has issued guidance on COVID-19 coronavirus and the impact of the virus on UK immigration and on Chinese citizens who are either in the UK and are worried about their immigration status or in China and wanting to get to the UK. With the spread of the pandemic further government announcements are expected as the global reach of coronavirus now extends well beyond China.
Visa extensions for Chinese citizens who are currently in the UK
On 17 February 2020, the Home Office said it would give additional leave to remain to any Chinese citizens whose visa was due to expire on a date between the 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020, provided that the visa holder had complied with any visa conditions prior to the coronavirus pandemic.
That means if your visa is about to expire in the next couple of weeks the Home Office will extend it automatically without you having to make an application. However, one important point to note is that whilst the Home Office will give you an automatic visa extension without your having to make a formal application to the Home Office your visa extension will be subject to the same conditions as your last visa.
At OTS Solicitors we have received calls from clients who are worried that they haven’t received anything in the post from the Home Office and that their visa is due to expire. Don’t worry, if you meet the criteria for an automatic visa extension then the Home Office will not automatically send you a new visa or Biometric Residence Permit.
Instead, the new visa expiry date of the 31 March 2020 will be added to the Home Office system. If you need paperwork to confirm the automatic extension of the visa then the Home Office may provide this.
Many of our Chinese citizen clients are worried about what to do because their visas expire in April or May, beyond the current automatic visa extension period of the 31 March. There is concern about travel to sort visa applications out and the impact on your immigration status if you don’t sort the paperwork out.
The Home Office guidance says if you are a Chinese national who is intending to stay in the UK beyond the 31 March then you should submit a visa extension application before your visa expiry date. If you are worried about how to go about your visa extension application then video conferencing, Skype or telephone appointments are available at OTS Solicitors to discuss your visa application and immigration concerns.
Online immigration solicitors
If you need to make a visa extension application or you are worried about coronavirus and your immigration status then the specialist immigration lawyers at OTS Solicitors can help with video conferencing, Skype or telephone appointments. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.
Chinese nationals switching from Intra Company Transfer Visa to work visa
The Home Office has also announced an additional concession to allow Chinese nationals who are currently in the UK on a Tier 2 (Intra-company Transfer) visa to apply to switch their visa to a Tier 2 (General) visa, by making the application from within the UK. Until this concession was made you had to leave the UK and apply for your Tier 2 (General) visa from overseas.
Coronavirus and sponsor duties
sponsor licence holders and sponsored employees find some of the reporting requirements imposed by the Home Office as part of employer’s sponsor licence management duties quite onerous. The positive news is that the Home Office has announced that sponsor licence holders won't have to report absences from Employment or studies that are the result of the coronavirus pandemic.
The other positive news is that sponsor licence holders are not obliged to withdraw their sponsorship of those with coronavirus who are:
Students on student visas who have been unable to attend their educational institution for more than sixty days or
The Home Office has also said that Home Office officials will not take compliance action against either employees or students who are absent from Employment or studies because of the coronavirus outbreak.
For all subject to immigration control there is no charge for NHS coronavirus testing
If you are worried that you have the coronavirus but are anxious about seeking medical advice because of your immigration status then there is no need to worry.
The Home Office has changed the regulations and have added coronavirus to the list of diseases or illnesses for which no charge is made for NHS treatment, regardless of the person’s immigration status. Even if the coronavirus test isn’t positive then the medical assistance will still be free of charge up to the point that your test results come back negative.
Online immigration solicitors
If you are worried about coronavirus and your immigration status or have questions about any aspect of personal immigration law or business immigration law then the specialist personal immigration and business immigration law teams at OTS Solicitors can help you with advice through video conference appointments, Skype or telephone appointments. Call us on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form.
For the best expert legal advice and outcome on your UK immigration application, contact OTS immigration solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or contact us online.
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Posted on: Tuesday, 17 March, 2020