Navigating the new normal

COVID-19: New guidance from UKVI

All content on this page is correct as of April 3, 2020

UKVI has released additional guidance for a number of sectors and visa categories in connection with COVID-19, although in many cases this still leaves a range of issues and questions unanswered.

NHS workers

Doctors, nurses and paramedics whose visas are due to expire before 1st October 2020 will have their visas automatically extended for one year to enable them to continue working in this time of COVID-19.  Visa holders will be contacted if this applies to them, but depending on how they put this into practice, it may only pick up people who are on sponsored visas for these roles – it may not capture people here on dependant or spouse visas. 

The working hours limit for Tier 4 students working as a doctor, nurse or paramedic have been lifted.  Restrictions on volunteering for some roles in the NHS have also been relaxed and deadlines for pre-registration nurses sitting the OSCE have been extended.

Licensed sponsors, workers and students

Additional guidance has been released for employers sponsoring Tier 2 or Tier 5 workers.  Salaries can be reduced to 80% of their salary or to £2500 per month, whichever is lower.  These figures are in line with furloughing under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme but it is unclear whether migrants should still be working or are permitted to be furloughed.  It should be noted that UKVI say workers must be treated the same.  We are seeking additional clarification from UKVI. 

Further guidance has also been given on work/study start dates and expiry of Certificates of Sponsorship and Confirmations of Acceptance for Studies, but this is also unclear so we are seeking clarification on this as well.

Other categories

Allowances have been made for Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) migrants who cannot meet the job creation requirements due to COVID-19.  It should be noted that the time that employees are furloughed will not count toward job creation.

There is conflicting guidance regarding endorsements for Start Up, Innovator and Global Talent migrants and applicants are advised to have frank conversations with their endorsing bodies.

UKVI information on the above categories can be found here, just above the Help Centre details.

If you have any questions about the above, please get in touch with our immigration department.

This information is necessarily of a general nature and doesn’t constitute legal advice. This is not a substitute for formal legal advice, given in the context of full information under an engagement with Bates Wells.

All content on this page is correct as of April 3, 2020.

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