Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 17 April 2020)
The Home Office has decided to “pause face to face substantive asylum interviews for now”, according to correspondence from the Asylum Operations team. All interviews scheduled from 19 March onward are cancelled.
Some initial screening interviews are also being cancelled, according to Right to Remain, although the Law Centre NI reports that they are continuing in Northern Ireland.
Lunar House in Croydon remains open for people to register an asylum claim. This can’t be done remotely. Home Office is reportedly working on “regional processes” so that people don’t have to travel as far as London.
Nationality and citizenship
On 16 April, the Home Office added the following message to around 20 gov.uk nationality application pages:
It is taking longer than usual to process applications because of coronavirus (COVID-19). This will not affect the decision.
The department also says that would-be citizens now have six months to book their citizenship ceremony instead of the usual three. It seems unlikely that there will be any available for some time: local authorities have been cancelling their regular citizenship ceremonies since the middle of March. It may be worth checking whether your council is running a waiting list: Hackney Council is doing this, for example.
Posted on Apr 16, 2020.