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    The impact of Coronavirus on the UK Immigration System


    Immigration Partner Ahmed Ajina details the key updates the UK government has made regarding immigration laws.

    The domestic and global measures taken to combat the spread of COVID-19, including self-isolation, quarantine requirements, and the boarder closure of various countries across the world, have now led to the UK government announcing various updates to the Immigration laws affecting foreign nationals who are currently in the UK.

    Visa concessions

    Foreign nationals who are currently in the UK with visas issued until 24 January 2020, and whose visas have since expired, or will expire, may apply for an extension of their visa until 31 May 2020, provided it can be shown that they have been unable to leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to COVID-19.

    Furthermore, foreign nationals will now be able to apply to switch to a long-term UK visa from within the UK for a limited period, so long as their visa is due to expire before 31 May 2020. Where ordinarily, foreign nationals would have needed to depart from the UK and apply for the long-term UK visa from abroad, they will now have until 31 May 2020 to apply for the long-term visa from within the UK, provided that they meet the same visa requirements and pay the necessary application fees.

    If you are a foreign national currently on a temporary visa in the UK and are anxious about your immigration status in the UK, require assistance with the extension of your visa or require assistance with switching into a long-term visa in the UK, please do not hesitate to contact our Immigration Partner, Ahmed Ajina.

    Duties of Sponsors

    Duties for sponsors have been relaxed due to the outbreak of COVID-19. Sponsors are not required to report any student or employees (Tier 2, 4, or 5) that have been absent as a result of the Coronavirus. This includes periods of absence for more than 60 days, where the Sponsor would usually withdraw sponsorship, on this occasion Sponsors are not required to do so. However, it remains the responsibility of the Sponsor to make the decision as to whether to withdraw the sponsorship.

    If you are a Tier 2, 4, or 5 sponsor, and require advice on your duties under your current sponsor licence in light of the outbreak of COVID-19, please get in contact with our immigration team.

    UK application centres

    All UK visa service and support centres in the UK are now closed and will remain closed until further notice. Individuals who are affected by the cancellation of an appointment will be automatically rebooked at the same location in six weeks’ time and will be given notice of the newly scheduled appointments. All UK visa service and support centres outside the UK will no longer be scheduling appointments until further notice.

    Immigration appeals

    Immigration appeals originally scheduled for oral hearings on, or from, 25 March 2020 have now been vacated, and will be dealt with by way of a Case Management Hearing which will take place on a date to be notified in a time slot allocated by the Immigration Tribunal. Appellants must file evidence and submissions/skeleton arguments within 15 working days, and the Home Office will then have 10 working days to respond. The Immigration Judge will then review the evidence, submissions, and any response, and will decide if the appeal may proceed without an oral hearing.

    If you are a foreign national with a pending immigration appeal and require advice and or representation in respect of your appeal, please do not hesitate to contact our immigration team led by Ahmed Ajina on +44 207 725 8087 or

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