Navigating the new normal

Coronavirus and Immigration: what do you need to know?

All content on this page is correct as of May 19, 2020

In this week’s roundup, we examine what the evolving coronavirus pandemic could mean for the world of immigration. We take a look at the latest guidance from the Home Office, how the virus is impacting visa applications as well as the issues it is causing for sponsor licences.

Coronavirus and UK Immigration – FAQs

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to cause disruption for people with UK visas as well as their employers, we are ready and waiting to help you understand the ever-changing immigration system. From visa applications and tribunals, through to tier 2 sponsorship concerns and rights to work, our expert team of immigration lawyers are on hand to help you. We’ve put together an FAQ page with the answers to questions you need to know, as well as problems we’ve been helping our clients with. We are updating this page with new information as and when it is released. Click here to find out more.

How we’ve been helping our clients

Our business and personal immigration teams have been busy advising our clients in relation to the impact of coronavirus. We’ve been advising clients on everything from their UK recruitment plans for international workers based in the UK and overseas, UKVI visa and sponsorship reports, to giving guidance on how to protect their status if they are stuck here and unable to leave as planned, and any relevant UKVI concessions being granted. Click here to find out about our latest business immigration work, and here to find out about our latest personal immigration work.

Webinars and Podcasts

Our immigration team have hosted some webinars and podcasts for our clients and contacts, guiding them through the ever changing immigration process during the coronavirus pandemic. If this is something that you think could be beneficial to you and your organisation, then please get in touch with Chetal Patel to discuss this further. 

Chetal has recently contributed to a webinar with Blick Rothenberg which focused on managing immigration and workforce issues in the current climate, as well as the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. You can register to access a recording of this webinar by clicking here.

People Management: Key workers and points-based immigration

The government’s points-based immigration scheme has passed its second reading in parliament. This is the first step to ending freedom of movement within the EU and will create a framework for the government to bring in tougher immigration rules which include requirements for an A-level equivalent education and a minimum earnings threshold of £26,500. The scheme has passed through parliament despite concerns that the changes have been pushed through at a time when the coronavirus outbreak is already making it difficult to fill key worker roles – many of which would be considered lower-paid and ‘unskilled’ under the new system. Chetal Patel, partner in our Immigration department, has spoken to People Management on this scheme. Click here to find out more.

Coronavirus and visiting the UK

Despite having the highest death rate in Europe from coronavirus, the UK is one of the few countries that has not to date overtly imposed significant restrictions on travellers entering the country as visitors. Although the numbers of flights arriving into the UK has been hugely reduced, it is still possible to travel here from a number of countries. The government’s COVID-19 recovery strategy indicates that travellers entering the UK will be told to isolate for two weeks, potentially adding to the list of dilemmas facing those wishing – or needing – to visit the UK at the moment. We have recently produced an update which explores this further, click here to find out more.

People Management: Frontline workers during COVID-19

With the Home Office recently extending its list of frontline workers who will have their visa automatically extended as part of its response to the coronavirus outbreak, our team has recently spoken to People Management with views on this move. We commented that while change is welcome, the expanded list of professions “does not go far enough”. To read the full article and more of team immigration’s thoughts on this, please click here.

Personnel Today: Does the latest COVID-19 immigration policy generate more questions?

As international travel remains disrupted, the Home Office has confirmed people planning to live and work in the UK can request a replacement visa with extended validity dates. But does this change leave more questions than answers? Chetal Patel, partner in our Immigration department, took a look at some of the areas of confusion in a recent article she wrote for Personnel Today. If you missed this, you can find the full article by clicking here.

Coronavirus pandemic: We answer immigration FAQs for Thomson Reuters Practical Law

We have contributed some guidance to the Thomson Reuters Practical Law portal on what COVID-19 means for the UK’s immigration system, and what pitfalls organisations need to avoid in this turbulent environment. In the guidance we addressed questions on topics such as: how to respond if you’re a visa holder in the UK, applying for a visa outside the UK, right to work checks, Tier 2 sponsored workers, NHS workers and Tier 1 (entrepreneur) visas. If you want to read more about our guidance on these topics, then just click here.

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 May 19, 2020.

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