The Home Office have published further guidance and updates in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. We appear to be drip fed these updates on a weekly basis. However, we still seek further clarification in respect of the updates discussed in our previous blog such as the ability for migrants to now switch in-country when they were previously required to apply outside of the United Kingdom (Tier 5 to a Tier 2 switch). Nonetheless, the Home Office have provided clarification for Entrepreneurs and Exceptionally talented individuals affected by the global crisis. The key updates are highlighted below:
1) Temporary closure of Application and Service Centres in the United Kingdom –
Individuals looking to apply to extend their leave in the United Kingdom should note that the UKVCAS and Service and Support Centres (SSCs) are temporarily closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19). Applicants will not be able to book appointments.
For those individuals who have already booked an appointment, will be contacted directly informed that the appointment has been cancelled and further information of when you can re book your appointment will be provided. If you are unable to attend your appointment your immigration status will not be impacted.
2) Tier 1 Entrepreneurs: Relaxation on the Employment requirement:
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holders will no longer need to employ 2 ‘settled persons’ for 12 consecutive months each. The 12-month period can now be made up from combining multiple employees across different months.
It is important to note that time when employees are furloughed will not count towards meeting the requirement. If the requirement is not met, individuals will be permitted to temporarily extend their stay in order to meet the requirement. If you do find yourself in this situation, we would strongly recommend contacting us to discuss your options. We are offering a 10-minute free telephone consultation during this global crisis.
3) Automatic extension for Doctors, Nurses or paramedic working for the NHS
The real superheroes fighting against the invisible opponent will have their visa automatically extended by one year if it is due to expire before 1st October 2020. Their dependents will also have their visa extended.
Rightfully so, these applications will be free, and the applicant’s will not be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge. These extensions will be automatic, the Home Office will contact the NHS employers to identify the staff members who will be eligible for the extension.
Further, there is no longer a limit on the number of hours migrants can work or volunteer each week if they work for the NHS as a doctor, nurse of paramedic and are a:
• Tier 4 student
• Tier 2 worker and your NHS job is a second job
• visiting academic researcher
• holder of a short-term visa and are permitted to volunteer
The deadline for nurses Occupational Structured Clinical Examination (OSCE) has been extended to 31 December 2020.
4) Endorsements: Global Talent, Start-up or Innovator visa
Migrants who have been issued an endorsement from an endorsing body, which has since expired because they have not been able to travel to the UK, may still be eligible for a visa. The application should be made as planned and will considered on a case by case basis.
If your Immigration status is affected by COVID-19, as always we do recommend you seek advice to ensure you are not in breach of your immigration status. We are offering a 10- minute free consultation during this pandemic. Please contact us on firstname.lastname@example.org or call us on 0203 6179273.