As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, on 24 March 2020 the Government issued a temporary concession to those whose leave had expired or was due to expire in the UK between 24 January 2020 and 31 May 2020. Under this concession, a migrant’s right to remain in the UK could be extended until 31 May 2020. This date is now less than 3 weeks away and the Government are yet to confirm if this will be extended further.
Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, stated at the time the temporary concession was announced that “by extending people’s visas, we are giving people peace of mind and also ensuring that those in vital services can continue their work”. The Government also mentioned that they would keep this under regular review in case a further extension was required, and that nobody would be penalised because of circumstances outside of their control.
In addition to the above, if a migrant was successfully granted an extension of their leave or their visa is due to expire by 31 May 2020, they may be permitted to switch their leave in the UK to a long-term visa. This includes applications where a migrant would usually be required to apply for a visa from outside the UK. You must ensure that all the requirements to submit such an application are satisfied.
On Sunday evening, Boris Johnson, the Prime Minister, confirmed that the lockdown in the UK has been extended until further notice. What does this mean for you if you are currently restricted from returning home and your leave in the UK is due to expire on or shortly after 31 May 2020?
The Immigration Law Practitioners Association (ILPA) are currently urging ministers to urgently extend the temporary concessions mentioned above until September, although this is yet to be confirmed.
As for air travel, even if the lockdown is lifted, it remains to be seen how long it will take Government Health and Safety experts to confirm it is safe to sit in a confined space with tens if not hundreds of people – even if they are a seat apart – in an atmosphere of wholly or partially recycled air. Failing this determination, visitors and others will not be forced to leave the UK as it would violate their human rights.
Until the Government provide further detail on any further extension of the temporary concessions brought into effect on 24 March 2020, all concessions remain the same.
Gherson are monitoring these concessions closely. If you would like to discuss this matter further, or if you would like to explore whether you may be eligible to switch to a long-term visa in the UK, Gherson would be happy to advise accordingly.
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.
Consultant and trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team