28 March 2020

COVID-19 Visa Extensions

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On 24 March 2020, the government announced temporary measures for individuals who are present in the UK on temporary visas and are unable to return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Anyone whose leave expired after 24 January 2020 who cannot return home due to either travel restrictions or health reasons, may have their leave extended until 31 May 2020. This is the initial period of extension introduced by the SSHD however, it is subject to review and further extensions may be granted where necessary.

The SSHD has also introduced measures to assist those who wish to stay in the UK long-term. Namely, the SSHD has temporarily expanded the in-country switching provisions. These measures allow people who wish to switch from a temporary visa to a more long-term visa e.g. Tier 4 students can switch to the category of a Tier 2 (General Worker) whilst living in the UK.

These temporary measures introduced by the SSHD are welcomed. Many people have found themselves being unable to return home to their friends and families due to travel restrictions and the lack of emergency flights. Any individual wishing to extend their leave will need to write to the Home Office explaining the circumstances. Any individual wishing to vary their leave will need to make a formal application. Although, processing times are expected to be slower than usual, these temporary measures give peace of mind to regular visitors who wish to maintain an good immigration history or for those who are wishing to remaining in the UK long-term but may experience some difficulties in doing so at present due to COVID-19.

Finally, the SSHD has introduced temporary measures to assist businesses. Namely, a number of requirements applicable to sponsors have been waived allowing their members of staff who are present in the UK under work or study routes to work and/or study from home.

Here at Connaughts we have a number of experts who can help. Whether you are an individual who wishes to extend his/her visa or looking to switch categories or a business seeking advice on the individuals sponsored, we are here to help.


The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Connaught Law and authors accept no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Connaught Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Connaught Law.

About the Author

Awais Javed
Awais has an extensive experience of advising high net-worth individuals on all types of immigration matters, ranging from investor and entrepreneur visa applications to appeals and judicial reviews in the Immigration Tribunal and the High Court.

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