The government has announced visa extensions and other measures to ease immigration requirements during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Key Points:

  • Leave will be extended to July 31 for those whose leave expires between Jan. 24 and July 31, and who are unable to return to their home country because of COVID-19 travel restrictions or quarantine. UKVI has set up a COVID-19 immigration team email to assist with the visa extension process. Visas that were previously extended to May 31 will be extended automatically to July 31.
  • The Home Office is temporarily expanding in-country switching provisions until July 31 for those wishing to apply for a visa to stay in the U.K. long-term, e.g., from Tier 4 (Student) to Tier 2 (General Worker), while remaining in the U.K. This includes visa applications that must usually be submitted from the applicant’s home country (where leave expires between Jan. 24 and July 31).

Additional information: The Home Office will continue to review the situation and may extend the current date accordingly. For more information and advice regarding immigration and the COVID-19 virus, visit the website.

Analysis & Comments: The extension policy is good news for employers and their foreign national employees, as it should lessen compliance concerns amid travel restrictions and quarantine measures related to the COVID-19 pandemic. Foreign nationals who avail themselves of the visa extension policy, however, are reminded that they must return to their home country as soon as possible once travel restrictions are lifted. The response to the COVID-19 pandemic continues to develop, and Deloitte will provide additional updates as information becomes available. Please check Deloitte’s COVID-19 Digital Map, available here, for information on travel restrictions and immigration changes in other countries.

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