UKVI Coronavirus update: Visa Expiry & Extensions
The UKVI has announced it will extend to 31 May, 2020, the visas of those migrants who cannot leave the UK because of the Coronavirus crisis whose leave/visa has expired since 24 January, 2020, or is due to expire before 31 May, 2020. The migrant is required to contact the UK by sending an email to a dedicated email address and provide the information set out in their guidance, link below. They can expect a response within 5 working days.
UKVI is also relaxing the ‘switching’ rules to allow people in the UK on short-term visas to apply inside the UK to switch into long-term visas where they previously would have been required to apply from their home country. This switching amnesty will apply until 31 May, 2020.
As yet, there is still no clear guidance on the position for visitors effectively stranded in the UK. We imagine their ‘overstaying’ would not be held against them in future immigration terms but we’ll update you as soon as we have any information on this.
Coronavirus Update (18/02/2020)
Immigration guidance if you’re unable to return to China from the UK
The Home Office has finally publishes its immigration guidance in respect of the Coronavirus. Unfortunately, they have failed to address the issue of Chinese visitors in the UK. We are following up with ILPA on this, who are liaising with UKVI, and will release any further information when we have it.
How is the coronavirus affecting Chinese immigration applications?
A lot of our Chinese clients are naturally asking how the current Coronavirus outbreak will affect their visa applications (Investor Visa, Innovator Visa, Sole Rep, Partner Appendix FM, Tier 4). We understand UK Visas and Immigration is preparing short-term, interim guidance on the implications for immigration of the Coronavirus outbreak.
We can confirm that all the Visa Application Centres and Test centres in China are currently closed until further notice. We understand Hong Kong centres remain open.
As for those Chinese in the UK whose leave expires today (and those whose leave is soon to expire) and are unable to return to China because of the outbreak, they are permitted to remain in the meantime and are advised to await the UKVI interim guidance.
If you have any queries relating to this please don’t hesitate to contact us.
For General Information for the public on the outbreak of coronavirus in China, including the current situation in the UK and information about the virus and its symptoms, please visit https://www.gov.uk/guidance/wuhan-novel-coronavirus-information-for-the-public
UKVI are preparing some short term interim guidance on the implications for immigration of the Coronavirus outbreak. The aim is to issue the guidance by the end of next week (7/2/20). Any members with Chinese clients whose leave runs out today (31/1/20) and cannot return to China because of the Coronavirus do not need to take any action and should wait for the interim guidance to be published.
Members will be aware that all the VACs and Test Centres in China are currently closed.
UKVI are working on the following scenarios:
- People in the UK whose leave is expiring but they cannot return to China due to the Coronavirus.
- Sponsors with people who are still in China and cannot return to the UK. The guidance will also look to reassure sponsors of the pragmatic approach that will be taken by UKVI in the current circumstances.
- For other countries where travel bans apply can individuals exceptionally apply to the UK from those countries.
- Given that all the VACs are closed in China how will “in-flight” applications be dealt with.
UKVI would be very grateful for feedback from members on whether there are any other scenarios that they should consider covering in the interim guidance. They are keen to ensure that the guidance that is issued covers all the possible scenarios at this point. At this stage all the guidance is being prepared as short term interim measures.