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Impact of COVID-19

UK visa can be extended until May 31

FE REPORT | March 26, 2020 00:00:00

The foreign nationals who cannot return home from the United Kingdom due to the COVID-19 pandemic will now be able to extend their visa.

The extension, announced by home secretary Priti Patel, will apply to anyone whose leave expired after January 24 and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation.

The British High Commission in Dhaka made the latest disclosures on Wednesday.

The extension will last until May 31 but will be kept under regular review in case of further extensions.

A dedicated COVID-19 immigration team has been set up within UKVI to make the process as straightforward as possible.

Anyone in this situation just needs to contact the team via CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk to let them know their visa has expired and they will be issued with an extension.

To help those who want to apply for visa to stay in the UK for a long term, the Home Office is also temporarily expanding the in-country switching provisions.

This will mean people can apply to switch routes, such as from Tier 4 (student) to Tier 2 (general worker), while remaining in the UK.

The UKVI will continue to process applications as quickly as possible.

However, some applications may take longer than usual time due to coronavirus-related operational pressures.

Dozens of foreign nationals have found themselves unable to return home since the outbreak of COVID-19 due to flight cancellations and border restrictions.

The extension gives them peace of mind that they will not be penalised for overstaying their visa when the situation is out of their control due to COVID-19.

This will be kept under review in the event of any further extensions in future.

Those who contact the authorities for visa extensions will be expected to return to their home countries soon after flight and border restrictions are lifted.

No immigration enforcement action will be undertaken during this time for those who email the Home Office.

"In the light of the current advice on self-isolation and social distancing, the Home Office is also waiving a number of requirements on visa sponsors," according to the High Commission.

The relaxed requirements include allowing non-EU nationals here under work or study can now undertake their work or study from home, it said.


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