This will last until May 31 but will be kept under regular review in case further extensions are needed
The UK government has announced visa extension facility for those currently unable to return home due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
British Home Secretary Priti Patel announced the extension facility saying it will apply to anyone whose leave expired after January 24 this year and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation, reports UNB.
This will last until May 31 but will be kept under regular review in case further extensions are needed, said the British High Commission in Dhaka on Tuesday.
Many foreign nationals have found themselves unable to return home flights cancelled and borders were closed around the globe to fight the coronavirus outbreak.
The extension has been put in place to give these individuals peace of mind that they will not be penalized for overstaying their visa when the situation is out of their control.
A dedicated Covid-19 immigration team has been set up within UKVI to make the process as straightforward as possible.
Anyone in this situation can contact this team via the email address -- [email protected] -- to let them know their visas has expired and they will be issued with an extension.
To help those who want to apply for visas to stay in the UK long-term, the Home Office is also temporarily expanding the in-country switching provisions. This will mean people can apply to switch routes, such as from Tier 4 (student) to Tier 2 (General Worker), whilst remaining in the UK.
UKVI will continue to process applications as quickly as possible. However, some applications may take longer than usual due to Covid-19 related operational pressures.
Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “The UK continues to put the health and wellbeing of people first and nobody will be punished for circumstances outside of their control. By extending people’s visas, we are giving people peace of mind and also ensuring that those in vital services can continue their work.”
The extension will be kept under review in case further extensions are needed in the future.
Those who contact the Home Office for these visa extensions will be expected to return to their home countries as soon as possible once flight and border restrictions are lifted.
No immigration enforcement action will be undertaken during this time for those who email the Home Office as outlined above.
In light of the current advice on self-isolation and social distancing, the Home Office is also waiving a number of requirements on visa sponsors, such as allowing non-EU nationals here under work or study routes to undertake their work or study from home.