Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 09 April 2020)

Immigration tribunal hearings

HM Courts and Tribunals Service is now issuing a daily operational update. There are specific status reports for First-tier and Upper Tribunal immigration and asylum cases. They provide a useful summary of the state of play (as of 9 April):

The [First-tier] tribunal has suspended face to face hearings (other than in exceptional circumstances) until further notice. A notice containing instructions on the next steps in your case will be sent to you. We are working through the listed cases in priority and date order and you should wait until we contact you. Please do not call us unless your enquiry is urgent. Bail applications will be prioritised and where a hearing is required, will be listed to take place by telephone or video. Users are advised to contact the relevant hearing centre until further notice.

The Tribunal Procedure (Coronavirus) (Amendment) Rules 2020 come into force on 10 April. Section 10 inserts two temporary coronavirus rules into the main First-tier Tribunal (Immigration and Asylum Chamber) rules. One allows the tribunals to make a decision on the papers without the parties’ consent, so long as it is urgent and a hearing is not reasonably practicable. The other allows the tribunal to conduct remote hearings in private when the technology to allow the public to dial in is not available.

No recourse to public funds

Migrants whose visa stipulates that they can have “no recourse to public funds” are in a difficult position. Without access to benefits to make up for loss of work, many face destitution.

The House of Commons Library has published a briefing (available here: that includes a list of what people with no recourse to public funds are entitled to. In particular:

Temporary migrants with NRPF are eligible for the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme and the Coronavirus Self-employment Income Support Scheme.

“New Style” Jobseekers Allowance, Statutory Sick Pay, and “New Style” Employment Support Allowance do not count as public funds.

Posted on Apr 08, 2020.

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