Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 26 March 2020)

Relaxation of sponsor duties

Sponsors are not currently required to report any absences from students or employees sponsored under Tier 2, Tier 4, or Tier 5, where those absences have been the result of the consequences of the coronavirus outbreak. 

Sponsors will also not be required to withdraw sponsorship for affected students who have been unable to attend for more than 60 days or for employees who have exceeded four weeks of absence without pay.

Immigration detention

The Home Office has already released around 350 people from immigration detention. But a senior official told the Home Affairs committee of MPs on 18 March:

there is no plan to have a wholesale systematic release from our immigration removal centres.

As of the same date, three of the UK’s seven immigration removal centres had people quarantined with symptoms of coronavirus, according to charities and campaigners. 

EU Settlement Resolution Centre closed

The office that deals with EU settled status enquiries has closed.

All callers to the Resolution Centre now get the following recorded message:

Unfortunately virus quarantine measures have now meant we’ve been unable to keep our call lines open. This is obviously not ideal and is something for which we’re truly sorry, but it’s essential to stop the spread of the virus.  Please remember to follow government guidelines during the COVID-19 outbreak. We’ll be open again once we have the ability to open safely.

However, Citizens Advice have been in touch to say that they expect the Resolution Centre to re-open in a matter of days. The Home Office have told them that the closure is temporary while Resolution Centre staff move to home working.

Posted on Mar 26, 2020.

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