The Home Office has confirmed its policy for dealing with those affected by the coronavirus outbreak. In a nutshell, if you are a Chinese national in the UK and you have complied with the conditions of your visa prior to the coronavirus outbreak and your visa has an expiry date between 24 January and 30 March 2020, your leave will be automatically extended to 31 March 2020.
No action need be taken to secure this extension and your visa will be extended on the same terms as your existing permission.
If you intend to apply to extend your stay in the UK prior to 30 March, you should continue to do so.
If you are a non-Chinese national who is ordinarily resident in China and are affected by the coronavirus outbreak, the Home Office recommends that you contact the coronavirus helpline who will confirm the temporary extension of your right to stay up to 31 March 2020.
Switching to a Tier 2 category in the UK
Chinese nationals in the UK with a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa who qualifies to switch into a Tier 2 General visa, applicants can exceptionally apply to switch from within the UK if their visa has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.
Applicants must meet all the requirements of a Tier 2 General visa other than the requirement that the visa should normally be obtained in China.
For those whose passports are presently retained by a Visa Application Centre (VAC) in China, these centres remain shut and there are no provisions at present to enable the early return of documents.
Sponsorship licence obligations: absences due to coronavirus
Some Tier 4 students or Tier 2/5 employees may be prevented from attending their studies or employment due to illness, the need to serve a period of quarantine or the inability to travel due to travel restrictions caused by coronavirus.
Sponsors do not need to report student or employee absences related to coronavirus which they have authorised.
Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship if they consider there are exceptional circumstances when:
Whilst leaving the responsibility for whether to withdraw sponsorship with the licence holder, the Home Office has stated it will not take compliance action against:
If you are affected and require legal assistance, please contact us on +44(0)20 7038 3980.