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Coronavirus and the UK immigration system

The coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic has caused enough disturbance and imbalance in the economy, health, and wellbeing of people across the globe, espec

The coronavirus(COVID-19) pandemic has caused enough disturbance and imbalance in the economy, health, and wellbeing of people across the globe, especially due to the travel restrictions, the people who are forced to stay in the UK indefinitely and those stuck outside the UK are hanging in the middle with prolonged waiting periods.

However, with the coronavirus guidelines, there have been temporary relaxation periods given keeping the viewpoint of people stuck within and outside the UK.

If you are present in the UK

If you are currently  staying in the UK because of the coronavirus pandemic, you must observe coronavirus appropriate behavior and plan to return or leave the UK as early as possible. You can gain access to the visa and immigration services to expedite your return. 

In case you want to return to a country that is listed on the Amber or Red list of countries, and you possess a valid visa and leave then you may be able to request some extra time to stay in the UK, this is known as ‘exceptional assurance’.

Intentions to stay in the UK

If you intend to stay in the UK, you will need to take permission to stay from relevant UK authorities. You must make an online application for permission to stay from within the UK. You must fulfil the route requirements and submit the required fee.

You may not be able to make an application for T5 Youth Mobility Scheme or Adult Dependent Relative route since there is no in-country application system.

Your Entry Clearance was not active due to COVID-19 restrictions

In case you made an entry into the UK border from outside the 30 or 90 days time limit, and your Entry clearance could not be activated due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions, then you can apply to stay in the UK without returning to your home country and re-applying. There is no free charge for this application.

Visa services and applications in the UK

Since Visa application and services are essentials services, you will be able to make and attend your appointment and complete your Biometrics. The UKVCAS service points have been open for those who are willing to book appointments.

In case you have applied for British citizenship( through Naturalisation UK) it may take a little longer than usual due to the Coronavirus. However, it won’t impact the decision. You will be provided with the extra time for Biometrics enrollment, submitting additional documents, if you have been asked. You will require to stay in the UK till the citizenship ceremony is completed. It is recommended that you take assistance from immigration experts. A Y & J Solicitors are the best immigration lawyers in London, who provide tailor-made legal advice to your unique immigration needs.

If working for the NHS

If you are working in the Healthcare sector and your visa is bound to expire between 01 April 2021 and 30 September 2021, you may be eligible to make an application to further stay in the UK with free visa extension and your dependents(if any) will also be eligible to extend their visa for a year. 

However, both of you must pay the Immigration Health Surcharge.

In case your visa is bound to expire on 30 September 2021 and you decide to change the employer then you will not be able to extend your visa.

Working for different NHS site

If you are working in the healthcare sector, but posted on a different NHS site due to coronavirus, you can continue to work as long as your sponsor fulfils the sponsorship duties. 

You can even carry out different supplementary work during this period, there is no restriction on the number of hours worked.

If present outside the UK

If you are present outside the UK and wish to return to the UK, you need to observe covid-19 appropriate measures such as pre-departure testing at the airport. You must also follow the Red, Amber and Green list rules before entering the UK. 

While you wish to enter the UK as a visitor due to compelling and compassionate reasons, you will be able to do it as usually done.

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