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McGill & Co is a Scottish immigration law firm specialising in UK immigration, nationality and refugee law.

Six answers and one remaining question immigrants need answered in light of the Coronavirus pandemic

31 March 2020 Iain Halliday News & Announcements


On 18 March 2020 I highlighted seven questions immigrants needed answered in light of the coronavirus pandemic. Following the publication of a new policy last week, we now have some answers.

(1) Do Chinese nationals who benefited from the February 2020 policy need to apply for further leave to remain before 31 March 2020?

Answered: A request can now be made, via the Coronavirus Immigration Team, for an extension until 31 May 2020. This is not automatic. If you have not yet received confirmation that your leave has been extended, you should make an application for discretionary leave to remain today to avoid becoming an overstayer.

(2) Do people overseas who have been granted entry clearance need to apply for a new 30 day vignette if they cannot travel to the UK?

Unanswered: When a person’s application for entry to the UK is granted, they have 30 days to travel to the UK. This will become increasingly difficult as more and more countries go in to lockdown and international travel becomes a rarity. It continues to be unclear whether those who cannot travel need to apply for a new 30 day visa vignette (at a cost of £154) or will they be permitted to travel after expiry of the 30 day period?

(3) Do visitors, of any nationality, currently in the UK need to apply for discretionary leave or will an automatic extension of leave be granted as was the case with Chinese nationals?

Answered: Visitors can make a request to stay until 31 May 2020 via the Coronavirus Immigration Team. If a response has not been received before the expiry of your visit visa, an application for discretionary leave to remain should be made before expiry to avoid becoming an overstayer.

(4) Will my application be invalidated if I do not attend a Visa Application Centre to provide my biometric information?

Answered: No. Applications will not be invalidated due to failure to provide biometric information. Applications can continue to be made online and will be placed on hold until the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Service centres re-open and applicants can provide their biometric information (i.e. fingerprints and photograph).

(5) Will immigration and asylum hearings at the First-tier Tribunal and Upper Tribunal continue?

Answered: Appeals will continue to be processed by the Tribunal, with decisions made without a hearing wherever possible. Where a hearing is required, this will be held remotely.

(6) Will people in immigration detention be released now that removal is no longer possible?

Answered: The Home Office have indicated that they will not be releasing immigrants from detention despite the fact that removal is no longer imminent due to the pandemic. Anyone in detention should consider making a bail application in order to challenge this policy position.

(7) Will people who currently have immigration bail need to continue reporting regularly to the Home Office?

Answered: No. All reporting has been suspended.


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