Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 23 April 2020)

NHS workers

As was announced previously, most people who need their leave extended must contact the coronavirus helpline to ask for the extension. Some NHS workers and their families, however, are to get a one-year extension automatically.

The Home Office announced that around 2,800 doctors, nurses and paramedics with leave due to expire by 1 October would get a free one-year extension. Family members are included and there are no fees involved.

The government website suggests that this concession is limited to NHS doctors, nurses and paramedics with a “work visa” only. Someone on a different type of visa that happens to grant the right to work in the UK would not be covered. But the Immigration Law Practitioners Association reported on 22 April that “the Home Office has confirmed to ILPA that the NHS extension is not limited to those on Tier 2 visas”.

The department has also “lifted the restriction on the amount of hours student nurses and doctors can work in the NHS”.


Intake and interviews

Registering an initial asylum claim must still be done in person, but no longer has to be at Lunar House in Croydon. The Home Office announced on 22 April that “the AIU in Croydon will continue to function as normal but will additionally be supported by limited operations in Glasgow, Belfast, Liverpool, Leeds, Solihull and Cardiff”.

Asylum seekers in Great Britain can make an appointment to register their asylum claim by calling 0300 123 4193. (In Northern Ireland, they are advised to turn up at Stockman House between 9am and 5pm.) Walking in with first making an appointment is discouraged but possible if the person “has nowhere to live” and needs to get into the asylum system to get accommodation.

Asylum support

Asylum seekers and refugees will not be asked to leave government accommodation until the end of June 2020, the government has announced.

On 21 April, the Home Office said that newly recognised refugees who have applied for Universal Credit would continue to get asylum support payments until their first Universal Credit payment arrives. 

EU Settlement Scheme

Expect delays in decision-making. Home Office minister Kevin Foster wrote that “applications to the EU Settlement Scheme continue to be processed, but during this challenging time they will take longer than usual to process”. 

The telephone helpline for EU settled status enquiries is closed and documents are no longer being accepted by post, but emails to the Settlement Resolution Centre are still being answered.

Posted on Apr 22, 2020.

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