Connecticut, US

Mar 24 2020

Relaxed Visa Extension Process Due to Covid-19

United Kingdom

At a Glance

  • Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the UK government announced that foreign nationals holding visas that expire between January 24, 2020 and May 31, 2020 and who are currently unable to return to their home country due to travel restrictions or self-isolation will be able to extend their visas to May 31, 2020.
  • Employers should consider whether to utilise the new extension policy or extend their employees’ visas through normal processes if their employee will remain in the United Kingdom after May 30, 2020.

The situation

The U.K. government announced that foreign nationals holding visas that expire between January 24, 2020 and May 31, 2020 and who are currently unable to return to their home country will be able to extend their visas to May 31, 2020.

A closer look

  • Process. Foreign nationals seeking to extend their visas for this temporary period must contact the Home Office and provide biographical and other information.
  • Changing visa categories. The new policy will also allow foreign nationals to switch between visa categories from within the United Kingdom, even where the foreign national would normally be required to return home.

 

Background

Many foreign workers are unable to leave the United Kingdom due to restrictions on international travel stemming from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Impact for employers

Employers should consider extending their foreign national employees stay now in the United Kingdom if their visas are due to expire before the end of May. Employers should consider whether to utilise the new extension policy or extend their employees’ visas through normal processes if the employee will remain in the United Kingdom after May 30, 2020.

Looking ahead

The new policy does not address many employers’ concerns around compliance under Tier 2 during this period and particularly, right to work checks. Employers are expected to hold a physical document when performing a right to work check, which may be challenging at present as many employees are currently unwilling to mail documents for fear of cross-contamination. We understand that this is under consideration with government officials alongside other issues.

This alert is for informational purposes only. If you have any questions, please contact the global immigration professional with whom you work at Fragomen or send an email to [email protected].