COVID-19 has caused wide stream upheaval and during this unsettling time, many are thinking how this is going to affect their visa status in the UK and employers are thinking about what they need to do.
Brinda Granthrai from JPC’s Immigration Team has been keeping up to date with the latest developments and is on hand to provide you with advice about what employers/employees should do.
The Home Office have put in some temporary measures to assist:-
If you need to extend your visa, then you should apply in the normal way online. Biometric appointments are still functioning (for now) but please follow Government advice on isolation if you experience any COVID-19 symptoms.
If your visa is due to expire shortly and you cannot travel due to closed borders or self-isolation, you can notify the Home Office who will provide an acknowledgment. Please keep all communications with the Home Office as this is your proof that you are not an overstayer.
There are some immigration categories which require you to travel back to your home country to apply. The Home Office have relaxed the rules and are allowing applications to be submitted from within the UK including Tier 4 (Student) to Tier 2 or Spouse.
For those whose businesses have been affected, you do not need to employ at least 2 people for 12 consecutive months. Multiple employees across the 12-month period will be fine but time on furlough does not count or you can apply to extend your stay to give you time to meet the requirements.
Sponsors are not required to report:-
- any absences from employees as a result of COVID-19
- employees now working from home
- employees pay is cut to 80% of salary or £2,500 per month, whichever is the lower – sponsorship will not be withdrawn.
If a certificate of sponsorship has been issued but the individual cannot travel, then the Home Office will review the matter on a case by case basis.
NEED SOME ASSISTANCE WITH IMMIGRATION MATTERS?
If you do require any advice or assistance in dealing with the issues we have outlined above or more generally please contact Brinda Granthrai by email firstname.lastname@example.org or contact her on LinkedIn.