Covid-19 continues around the globe, but many have concerns around their visa as it may run out before the pandemic retreats.
With self-isolation, travel restrictions and border closures in force across the globe many whose visa will expire in this time cannot return home.
Home Secretary Priti Patel announced yesterday (24 March) that all visas that have expired since 24 January will be extended until 31 May. This will be under regular review as it is unknown if another extension will need to be granted if Covid-19 continues.
It is understood that at this point those with expired visas have not been able to return to their home country, and the UK Home Office has stated that no one will be penalised for things that are beyond their control.
A dedicated team has been set up within UKVI to assist those with visa extensions and to discuss options with those affected. It is recommended to contact the team to arrange for your extension on CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk. Please be aware that due to Covid-19 there are operation pressures on the team, so there will be a need to remain patient.
Once border closures are lifted, and travel restrictions are no longer in force, it would be expected that these foreign nationals will be returning home.
The Home Office is also waiving a number of requirements on visa sponsors, such as allowing non-EU nationals here under work or study routes to undertake their work or study from home due to social distancing and self-isolation.
In assisting those who would like to stay in the UK on a more long-term basis, there is work to temporarily expand the provisions so people can apply to switch routes, for example Tier 4 (student) to Tier 2 (general worker) while remaining in the UK.
For more information on your rights on immigration, or questions in relation to Covid-19 and immigration, please contact our immigration team here.