The Home Office has announced that in-country immigration-related processes deemed “non-essential” are suspended because of office closures.

Key Points:

  •  All Visa Application Centres in the U.K. are closed until further notice.
  • There will be no penalties for failure to attend a pre-booked online appointment or being unable to book an appointment. Those who booked an online appointment should receive an email canceling the appointment.
  • While applications under the EU Settlement Scheme can still be made online using the “EU Exit ID Document check app,” the postal route for submitting identity evidence is suspended. Documents sent by post cannot be accepted at this time.
  • Visiting the Overseas Visitors Records Office (OVRO) to register under the Police Registration Scheme is suspended. Those returning to their home country before completing registration should not face any difficulties when re-entering the U.K.
  • Life in the UK test centers are closed until April 13. For those who have booked an appointment, these will be rescheduled automatically to a date after April 13.
  • English language test centers are temporarily closed with the earliest appointment available mid-April, which could be subject to cancellation.

Additional information: Last week, the government announced that it would be extending visas for those unable to return to their home country because of COVID-19 related travel restrictions/quarantines.

Analysis & Comments: The suspension policy is good news for employers, as it will ease immigration requirements for affected foreign national employees and their dependents. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available.

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