COVID-19 SERVICE UPDATE: At Reiss Edwards we recognise the impact the coronavirus is having on everyone. In response, we have created a cross firm group that will be able to offer you quick, independent immigration advice at your fingertips. In fact, we have extended our office hours to make the process as simple as possible.
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If you are in the UK on a visa, you may be deeply concerned about your right to remain in the country and what the situation is if you want to extend or switch your visa.
This article is a comprehensive guide to government advice regarding visa extensions and switching as of 4 May 2020. As with all information relating to Covid-19, things can swiftly change, so it is vital to continue to keep checking the official government guidance.
During the Covid-19 pandemic, NHS and frontline health workers have become the nation’s heroes. Many of these people are in the UK on a visa. For example, 13 percent of doctors and 7 percent of nurses report an Asian nationality and over 18,500 NHS staff are Filipino.
If you are an NHS worker, the British government will extend you and your families’ visas for one year if the following conditions are met:
The one-year extension will apply from the date your leave to remain is due to expire.
The following professions are eligible:
Your employer will tell you if you need to apply for an extension.
Pressure is also mounting for the government to scrap the migrant healthcare surcharge that non-EU migrant NHS and frontline healthcare staff must pay. Doctors, nurses, and carers argue that as they are risking their lives on the Covid-19 frontline, they should not have to pay to access NHS services.
`Carl Perez, a Filipino nurse who contracted Covid-19 whilst working in a care home where several residents died, told The Guardian :
“It feels unfair that we are risking out [sic] lives on the frontline, and we are being penalized by having to pay this large sum out of our own pockets. We’re already paying for the NHS through our national insurance and tax. It doesn’t leave much left for accommodation and living costs.”
Dr Zakiuddin Mohammed, an Indian doctor who is treating Covid-19 patients daily, added:
“Much more than the monetary burden, it makes me feel as though the government doesn’t value our contribution. It is extremely unfair because we’re paying taxes and national insurance and being told: if you’re to access the services of this wonderful organization that you’re contributing so much to, you will have to pay a surcharge. It feels very ungrateful to us.”
In a statement, the Home Office stated that:
“It is in the public interest for migrants to be financially independent and not burden UK taxpayers. Those who benefit from the state should be contributing to it.”
If you cannot leave the country because you are self-isolating or because of travel restrictions, your visa will be extended until 31 May 2020. You will not be classed as an overstayer or suffer any detriment to further visa applications you may make in the future.
Note – this only applies to people who do not plan to extend their leave to remain. For example, you may be on a Standard Visitor Visa which expires in mid-May. If you suspect you have Coronavirus symptoms, you need to self-isolate and should this happen in early-mid May; you will be unable to leave the country.
You must apply to extend your visa because if you allow it to expire, you may not be granted a Standard Visitor Visa in the future.
You can request a replacement 30-day visa by emailing CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk. Your email must be in English. Remember to include your name, nationality, date of birth, and your GWF reference number with ‘REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA’ in the subject line.
At present, all UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are closed; however, you will be contacted when they re-open.
Many businesses have been adversely affected by the Coronavirus nationwide lockdown. Therefore, the government has stated that you do not need to employ at least two settled workers for 12 consecutive months. Instead, you can hire someone to do multiple jobs across different months.
Note that if you any employees, the time they spend off work will not count towards the twelve-month period required to gain an extension on your Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa or Indefinite Leave to Remain.
If you have been unable to meet the 12-month total by the time your visa expires, you can apply to temporarily extend your leave to remain to try and meet the requirement.
You can begin your course of study even though you have not had a decision on your Tier 4 Student Visa if:
If your visa application is rejected, you will have to cease studying immediately.
The government has temporarily changed its rules to allow applicants to start work if:
Until 31 May 2020, applicants can apply from within the UK to switch their visas. This includes switching to a visa where you would generally have to return to your home country to make the application. You will still need to meet all the eligibility requirements for the route you are switching to.
If you have any further questions about visa extensions or switching during the Covid-19 epidemic, please get in touch with our Immigration Solicitors.
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My wife's spouse visa extension application was refused by the Home Office and they gave her 14 days to leave the country. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they said "OK don't worry we will sort this out". They put together the list of documents for me to obtain and they prepared a bundle which was as thick as the printer it came out from.We followed everything they asked us to do and in the end we won our appeal and got our spouse visa. We can't recommend them enough and we have promised ourselves never to make any more UK visa applications without them.
The team of lawyers at Reiss Edwards are very professional and friendly people. Their experience in and around UK immigration law is quite extensive; be sure that you application is in safe and competent hands. My immigration matter was an indefinite leave to remain application based on Tier 1 on a self-employment basis. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards made sure that the application was perfect and ready to be accepted. I got a positive decision and I recommend them highly for anyone who needs a UK immigration help.
I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They acted with utmost professionalism throughout the entire application. I spoke with Joe Dinh, he is an immigration solicitor and he is one of the best solicitors out there. He ensured that there was little to no room for error. At some point I thought he was over cautious. He remained calmed and continued to assure us on our immigration matter. Most people in his position would have panicked but he was calmed and continued to assure us. We received out positive outcome very quickly.
I have been using Reiss Edwards for three years now for my family's immigration application. Both for my initial application and extension. They are really affordable. The team of solicitors at this firm are probably one of the most efficient and economical in terms of cost. They offered free advice over the phone and spent good time with us before inviting us for consultation.
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I used Reiss Edwards immigration lawyers to assist with my immigration matter and that of my family. It was an EX1 application. They dealt with the matter properly and even when complications were coming up from the Home Office, they helped resolve the issue properly. They are very professional and are very popular in London. I am happy to have worked with them.
This is the only firm that i spoke with that didn't ask for money before listening to me, will be using them again.
I used Reiss Edwards for my Tier 2 visa application and it was successful. The team was ever present and happy to answer my question. The caseworker that dealing with my case went on holiday yet by case did not suffer one bit. Another lawyer stepped and took over the case without any hassle.
My Tier 1 Investor Visa was dealt with quickly and without issue. Would recommend Reiss Edwards as an Immigration law firm in London. Thank you to the team.
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