The UK Government has eased visa restrictions for migrant entrepreneurs, NHS workers as well as overstayers during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.
Penalties for overstaying a UK visa have been done away with.
Moreover, NHS workers – that are currently in Britain on a visa – can work anywhere throughout the country, without there being any limit on the numbers of hours that they can work for.
Originally published on March 24, 2020 – Coronavirus [COVID-19]: advice for UK visa applicants and temporary UK residents – has recently been updated by the Home Office on November 23, 2020.
The publication by the Home Office and UK Visas and Immigration offers advice for –
|Visa customers and applicants in the UK|
|Visa customers outside the UK|
|British nationals overseas that have to apply for a passport|
that are affected by the COVID-19 related travel restrictions.
Those in the UK will be expected to “take all reasonable steps” for leaving the UK wherever possible. Failing which, they can apply for regularizing their stay in the UK.
Those intending to leave the UK but unable to do so – and with a visa or leave to remain expiring between November 1 and November 30, 2020 – can request additional time for staying in the UK. Referred to as “exceptional assurance”, this additional time can be requested by completing an online form.
While the exceptional assurance does not grant an individual a leave to remain, it will be acting as a short-term protection against any adverse consequences following the expiry of their leave.
Alternatively, those intending to stay on in the UK and wishing to regularize their stay will be required to apply for the necessary leave to remain. The terms of their leave will continue to be the same till the time that their application is decided upon.
For a leave that expires after October 31, 2020, the individual will have to submit an application form from within the UK.
An individual that has overstayed their leave – that is, with their visa or leave having expired between January 24, 2020 and August 31, 2020 – will face “no future adverse immigration consequences” if they had not made an application for regularising their stay during this period. However, if they had not applied for regularising their stay or submitted a request for an exceptional assurance, they must make arrangements for leaving the UK.
A majority of the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres [UKVCAS] have reopened for existing customers.
Individuals applying for the Global Talent visa that have had their endorsement expired – as they have been unable to make an application for a visa – might still be eligible. Their endorsement will be accepted, provided, however, that both conditions are met –
|Their endorsement was granted either on or after January 24, 2020, AND|
|They apply for their visa before January 1, 2021.|
Applications for the Global Talent visa that do not meet the above-mentioned requirements are to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
Those applying for a Start-up or Innovator visa and with their endorsement expiring due to their inability to travel to the UK might still be eligible for applying for a visa. All applications are to be considered on a case-by-case basis.
If an individual’s 30-day visa for travelling to the UK for work abroad, study overseas or for joining family has expired, or is due to expire, they can request “a replacement visa with revised validity dates free of charge until the end of this year”. This, however, will not be applicable to other kinds of visas.
The replacement visa process shall remain in place until the end of 2020.
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