On 20 April 2020 the Home Office released guidance on the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on student visas. The guidance covers a number of temporary immigration concessions for those currently on Tier 4 and short-term student visas.
It is important to note that these concessions are temporary and will be removed as soon as the Government confirms that all policies will return to normal. Some of the changes which have temporarily been permitted are as follows:
- Distance learning is now permitted.
- Students who are required to repeat a year, retake a module or resit an exam are exempt from demonstrating academic progression as would normally be the case for those applying in the UK.
- Evidence of police registration has been suspended.
- Students who are employed as doctors, nurses or paramedics are able to work more than 20 hours per week.
- Volunteering is permitted for NHS Volunteer Responders.
- If an individual applies for an extension that would take them over the normal maximum period allowed on a Tier 4 (General) visa, discretion may be applied.
For short-term students:
- Switching into Tier 4 visas from short-term routes “will be allowed on an exceptional basis” until at least 31 May 2020.
- Short-term students who have been given an exceptional extension of leave in this category as a result of Covid-19 will be permitted to study on a further course other than the one they originally entered the UK to undertake.
If you are a sponsor, you will not be required to withdraw sponsorship for affected students who have been unable to attend for more than 60 days.
Students are also permitted to start their studies even if they are still waiting for an application to be decided.
If you are due an inspection with regards to educational oversight this can be completed remotely so as to avoid any delays with inspections.
If you are a student or a Tier 4 Sponsor and have been affected by the Covid-19 pandemic or would like further information on the above, please do not hesitate to contact us.
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