Jun 03, 2020 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 04 June 2020)

Compulsory quarantine

International travellers arriving in the UK on or after 8 June 2020 are being told to go into quarantine for two weeks:

To limit the spread of infection, arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days.

There is a separate list of exceptions, including for arrivals from within the Common Travel Area covering the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This is so long as the person hasn’t arrived in the Common Travel area within the past two weeks and then travelled on to the UK. If, say, someone travels from the Netherlands to Ireland on 10 June and then on to the UK...

Jun 02, 2020 - UK coronavirus loans top £31bn but just half of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) applications approved

The government published new statistics that show 745,388 businesses across the UK have to date benefitted from over £31 billion in loans and guarantees to support their cashflow during the crisis through schemes delivered by the British Business Bank as at 31 May.

This includes 699,354 Bounce Back Loans worth £21.29 billion, 45,843 loans worth over £8.9 billion through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and £1.1 billion through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

But many firms that are too big for bounce-back loans report that they are struggling to get th...

Jun 01, 2020 - Rishi Sunak considers national insurance holidays for firms as part of coronavirus recovery package.

The UK Chancellor's focus is on measures to stem the expected spike in unemployment and boost economic growth.

Rishi Sunak is considering national insurance holidays for companies as part of a coronavirus stimulus package that will be announced in July, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported late on 01 June.

Tax rate increases, including raising income tax and VAT, that have been under consideration are likely to be delayed until economic growth recovers, citing sources close to the discussions.

The report adds that Sunak's focus is on stemming unemployment with options being considered includ...

May 28, 2020 - Home Office softens no recourse to public funds policy following High Court defeat

Revised Home Office guidance should make it easier for migrants with family visas to claim benefits if necessary. The change follows a recent High Court decision along with the wider context of no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

As of today, the updated policy includes the following new paragraph:

The position in Appendix FM

Paragraph GEN.1.11A provides the basis in the Immigration Rules for exceptions to the wider policy on migrants not having recourse to public funds. In all cases where an applicant has been granted leave, or is seeking leave, under the family or private life routes the NRP...

May 28, 2020 - Rishi Sunak announced furlough scheme updates

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled plans for employers to start paying towards the wages of their furloughed staff.

Changes to the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) let businesses bring back staff part time from July, but introduce a taper requiring firms to contribute to salaries from August.

From August, employers must pay National Insurance and pension contributions, then 10% of pay from September, rising to 20% in October.

Also, workers will be allowed to return to work part-time from July, but with companies paying 100% of wages.

Mr Sunak said the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme w...

May 27, 2020 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 28 May 2020)

Visa centres overseas

All UK visa application centres overseas are closed but some are about to re-open.

VFS Global, which runs some of the centres on behalf of the British government, tweeted on 31 March: “Please be advised that our UK visa services have been suspended globally until further notice”. That tweet was deleted in late May, when the company announced a “phased resumption of services in certain Visa Application Centres” from 1 June. They are:

  • Brisbane
  • Canberra
  • Melbourne
  • Perth
  • Sydney
  • Beijing
  • Chongqing
  • Guangzhou
  • Shanghai
  • Suva
  • Hong Kong
  • ...

May 25, 2020 - Coronavirus (COVID-19): travellers exempt from UK border rules

This guidance explains who will be exempt from new UK border rules introduced due to coronavirus. The rules will apply to travellers to the UK from 8 June 2020

You will not need to fill in the form or self-isolate for 14 days if you’re travelling to the UK from:

  • Ireland;
  • the Channel Islands;
  • the Isle of Man.

Exemptions from data collection

  • members of diplomatic missions (non-UK) and consular posts in the United Kingdom, officers, servants or representatives of international organisations and their families or dependents;
  • defence personnel and contractors - required to de...

May 25, 2020 - Operation of Visa Application and Service Centres in the UK and abroad (update as of 26 May 2020)

Visa Application and Service Centres in the UK

Some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) will reopen for existing customers on 1 June 2020. You can check which UKVCAS centres are open.

Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19).

Service point locations

The following UK Visa Application service points will be open from 1 June:

  • Birmingham
  • Birmingham Premium Lounge
  • Chelmsford
  • Croydon
  • Exeter
  • Leeds
  • London Mark Lane Premium Lounge
  • London Victoria
  • Manchester Fountain Street Enhanced Service Point
  • ...

May 21, 2020 - Immigration Health Surcharge to be waived for NHS and social care workers

It was only yesterday that government ministers were on the airwaves defending the principle of the NHS surcharge and saying that it would be terribly complicated to remove it selectively. That complexity — finding out who works in the health and social care sectors where immigration records may not hold that information — may be an excuse to delay implementation of the headline-grabbing announcement for some time to come.

The surcharge — not actually a payment for using the NHS but a tax on visas collected at the point of application — is currently £400 a year but is due to rise to £624 in Oc...

May 21, 2020 - Visa extension if you are in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020

Your visa will be extended to 31 July 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).

You must request an extension by updating your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) if your visa is expiring and you cannot leave the UK at present but are not planning to stay in the UK in the long term.

If you have already had your visa extended to 31 May 2020 you visa will be extended automatically to 31 July 2020.

You will be expected to return to your home country as soon as it is safe and possible to do so.

If you’re appl...