Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 21 May 2020)
Switching visas inside the UK
As it has been reported before, the Home Office guidance includes information on switching visas. It allows people to “apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 May 2020. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country”.
From what we gather, this would be an in-country application rather than an application for entry clearance. The concession was initially limited to people whose visa is due to expire by 31 May 2020. Lawyers are starting to report that the Home Office is sending out emails extending the concession to people with visas expiring in June.
Family members of NHS workers who die from COVID-19 can get indefinite leave to remain for free.
On 20 May, the Home Secretary said that this was being extended to cover “NHS support staff & social care workers” as well. This should be automatic, but those affected can contact [email protected].
Compulsory quarantine when traveling to the UK
The government’s “COVID-19 recovery strategy”, last updated on 12 May, says that people travelling to the UK will soon be asked to go into quarantine for two weeks after they arrive. The document states:
… the Government will require all international arrivals not on a short list of exemptions to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival into the UK. Where international travellers are unable to demonstrate where they would self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the Government.
There is no official date for this policy to begin: the government only says that it will come in “as soon as possible”. The BBC has reported that it may be introduced “in early June”.
No recourse to public funds
The High Court found on 7 May 2020 that aspects of the no recourse policy are unlawful. As a result, the Home Office updated its information on applying to have the condition lifted where the person is only “at risk of becoming destitute”, as opposed to already destitute.
Posted on May 20, 2020.