Every year, almost half a million international students come to the UK to study, of which over one-third are from outside of the European Union. COVID-19 has, however, put a €˜spanner in the works' meaning that educational establishments across the UK are closed except for distance learning. If you are an international student who is planning to come to the UK to commence your studies, you are currently in the UK, or you have returned home to be with your family during the lockdown, you may be unsure about your position regarding immigration, and what will happen next.
If your study visa has expired or is due to expire imminently, and you cannot leave the UK as a result of COVID-19, the Home Office have stated they will extend it to 31st May 2020 without requiring you to submit an immigration application or pay a fee. You will, however, need to complete and send a form to the Home Office's Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre.
Currently, all UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) service points are closed in the UK. According to UKVI, as long as you applied before your current visa status expired, you will not be classified as an overstayer while waiting for a decision. This means that you will not need to apply for the free extension outlined above.
Ordinarily, educational sponsors have a duty to monitor attendance of Tier 4 study visa holders and report international students who are not attending their course. In the current situation, the Home Office has confirmed that no enforcement action will be taken against students who are no longer attending classroom-based learning or absent as a result of COVID-19 due to related illness or travel.
If you have a place on a course in the UK, you have been issued a CAS, and your Tier 4 study visa has been approved, and you wish to commence study but you are unable to travel to the UK, then your only option will be to ask if you can undertake online remote distance learning with your educational provider. Once the travel restrictions are lifted and your course has restarted, you will need to check if your entry clearance is still valid. If it has, you will be able to request a replacement entry clearance vignette sticker with the new date, free of charge (until the end of 2020).
The advice of the UK government is that Tier 4 sponsors can continue to sponsor their existing Tier 4 visa students who are studying via distance learning, whether they are in the UK, or in another country. Furthermore, academic sponsors (i.e. the British school or University) are not required to withdraw sponsorship for any new Tier 4 visa students who have been unable to travel to the UK to commence their studies, and are utilising distance learning.
If you are an international student who wishes to study at a UK educational establishment but can only do so via distance learning, you will not need to apply for a Tier 4 visa to do so, as you will not need to enter the UK currently (however this is being reviewed on 31st May '20).
Under specific conditions, the Home Office is allowing those who are switching into the Tier 4 study route to commence their studies prior to their application being decided if it can be shown:
The UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) recommends that those students who left the UK but were still to receive their biometric residence permit (BRP) should ask their education provider or a trusted individual still in the UK to forward the document by post. Unfortunately, there is a risk that if it is not collected, it may be canceled, meaning that the individual will need to reapply before entering the UK.
You will not be able to apply for permission to enter the UK for the purposes of study until face-to-face study resume, and application centers re-open around the world. Unfortunately, potential delays in processing applications (i.e. due to backlogs) may mean you cannot continue your course on time; in such circumstances, you may need to undertake your course using distance learning until you can enter the UK.
Coronavirus pandemic has caused many problems for international students already studying or planning to study in the UK. If you are in the UK or your home country and still unsure of your position, contact your educational provider to ask for their advice. They are dealing with inquiries from students across the globe currently and will be able to explain your options from the standpoint of studying and UK immigration. You can be assured that UK educational establishments will be as flexible as possible given the very difficult circumstances, and will do all they can to resume courses for their valued international students as soon as possible.
Related Articles: Coronavirus Travel Information Advice for UK Citizens
It's a shame that you dont have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my experience with Reiss Edwards is nothing short of an excellent rating. They handled my application for an Indefinite Leave to remain in April 2014 and did my husband's one very recently including my daughter. Every time i have approached them, they have continued to treat me with courtesy, respect and patience. Amar was indeed a very thorough and professional gentleman. He is very knowledgeable, corporative and engaging. He responded to my emails, calls and enquiries promptly. He was always reassuring. I could not have asked for a better Immigration service. I would recommend them over and over again for anyone looking for an immigration advice. They gave me a free immigration advice when i called them, and the quality of the advice was something other charge thousands for. If you need a particular, name, Amar would be it. He exemplifies, for me, the true, professional gentleman. He is a valuable asset to Reiss Edwards.
I am glad that i instructed Reiss Edwards on my visa matter. It started with a 20 minutes free immigration advice. I met with Amar to discuss my ILR refusal. He gave me a great deal of quality advice and decided to take on my messy case. I had doubts on the merits of my case by he was relatively convinced he could win it. That made me quite secure. To be honest, things did not start as quick as I would have wanted, but they kept on communicating the process and state of things to me.A big thank you to Verusha and Foram. They were also very helpful. Brilliant and informative. Their fee was fair and reasonable, especially if you compare them to other law firms and immigration law firms in London; some of whom even told me that i would not be able to get an indefinte leave to remain in this country. The process was long but was worth it. In the end, a big thank you to Reiss Edwards.
Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to make sure that the Tier 1 investor immigration lawyers that we'd be picking has to be one of the best within the Tier 1 investor category. We contacted Reiss Edwards and they were able to get us not only the Tier 1 investor visa but also suggested profitable investment portfolios in addition to what we already had in mind.
TI have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the application, i was not sure which law firm i should hire to facilitate the paperwork. After a few hours of research, i decided to go with Reiss Edwards and i must confess that i wasnt disappointed. The immigration lawyers at Reiss Edwards handled my case well and they really knew what they were doing. They were fully aware of what documents I needed and it was easy for them to tell if my case was going to be easy or not. At the end of the day, I have not received my British citizenship within 3 months. If anyone is looking for a good immigration lawyer to handle thier case, contact Reiss Edwards.
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.
Reiss Edwards is a top notch immigration service company. The way they handled our documentation and also the list of documents they sent was efficient and top quality. They helped us professionally throughout the process. We are very happy with the immigration advice we received from the team. We highly recommend them.
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.
530 ReviewsREAD ALL REVIEWS