Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in the UK, the UK Government has stressed – almost on a daily basis – the importance of “flattening the curve”, so that the National Health Service (“NHS”) is not stretched beyond the capacity it can cope with, given the surge in the medical needs of the population.
Thanks to social distancing and other measures implemented by the Government, the daily number of coronavirus related deaths in the UK has fallen recently following the predicted peak over the Easter weekend. Despite this positive development, Migration Watch UK, a think tank, has proposed a ban on foreign visitors aged over 50 wishing to visit the UK from outside the EU, in order to mitigate the risk of them putting extra strain on the NHS. Migration Watch UK added that such a ban should remain in place until a vaccination for coronavirus becomes available.
The UK has not closed its borders amid the pandemic, nor put measures in place to screen incoming travellers from around the world. It is estimated that nationals of around 50 countries with a total population of one billion are entitled to travel to the UK currently without requiring a visa or be granted a visa on arrival. Migration Watch has further proposed extending requirements for a visa to these nationals and impose an age limit to be applied to all non-EEA visitors. It argued that this would allow the tourist industry to recover whilst minimizing any unnecessary additional pressures on the NHS.
At the moment, however, it would seem that such advice has not been taken up by the Home Office. A Home Office spokesperson stated that “Our approach to tackling coronavirus is driven by the latest scientific and medical advice. In line with that advice to date, no changes have been required at the UK border”.
Could the UK be expecting a US-style shutdown on immigration completely, or a tightening of border control to identify travellers at higher risk? We shall wait and see. If you have any enquiry regarding UK immigration matters at this time, please do not hesitate to Contact Us.
Please note that the information in this blog is current at the date and time of posting. The situation regarding policy and guidance based on the COVID-19 pandemic is subject to change at short notice. We shall be monitoring all aspects of UK immigration which may be impacted by the coronavirus closely, so please do keep updated with further blogs and articles which we will be posting on this site.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.