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How Coronavirus Has Affected UK Immigration

The Coronavirus pandemic sweeping the globe has undoubtedly changed lives in both the short and long term. For most of us, the immediate effect is social distancing measures, missing our loved ones that are vulnerable, and adjusting to a change in lifestyle. i. For migrants, the implications of Covid19 maybe much farther reaching with people stuck across the globe, and many visa centers either closed or with restricted services. This is a worrying time for many migrants who either currently reside in the UK or are looking to do so in the future.

In this article, we are going to look at some of the effects that the global Coronavirus pandemic is having on the lives of migrants, and what options are open to help them make the best of what is an unprecedented period in modern human history. As these guidelines change regularly, it is highly recommended that you keep a keen eye on the announcement’s government issue daily. You can also visit our blog and social media platforms to keep informed of the latest developments.

Visa Applications and Extensions

With UK visa centers currently closed across the globe, securing UK visas significantly more challenging than ever before. Traditionally, when an immigration application is being prepared in anticipation of coming to or remaining in the UK, there are three stages they all have in common:

(a) Preparing documents needed for the application

(b) Completing and submitting online application forms and cover letters

(c)Attending a visa center to provide biometrics information – without this, the application cannot be decided.

Points A and B are much less restricted by the pandemic, but still, present more hurdles than they did before lockdown. For example, you may not be able to get an appointment to visit your bank to have them certify your statements (as is normally recommended), but will be able to provide alternatives or electronic copies. Point C, on the other hand, has been dramatically halted by all UK visa centers – they have cancelled all appointments with no further available slots. How will this affect your visa application? In a nutshell, it will add to the time it takes to receive a decision. You will also need to await confirmation of when appointment slots will be made available so that one can be booked for your visa application. Our lawyers and solicitors are able to assist with this or can give you further clarity if you are confused by any part of the process.

People that had booked appointments that landed on a date when Covid19 lockdown measures had been introduced have had their appointments canceled. They too will need to rebook but should be contacted by the visa center to assist, when more slots are released.

For people in the UK planning to either apply to remain or are unable to leave the country before their visa expires, do not need to panic. If your visa expires between the 24th of January and the 31st of May 2020, The Home Office has announced plans to allow free extensions until the 31st of May 2020. This automated system has been introduced to enable compliance with government rules on social distancing whilst protecting you from becoming an illegal overstayer. You will need to make sure that this system of automated extensions is either applied again so your visa renews for a further month or so, or you will need to make arrangements to leave/regularize your status before the date has passed. Even with such a dramatic change in lifestyle that has impacted almost everyone’s lives, you still need to avoid being classified as an overstayer so you are not later presented with an avoidable battle with the Home Office. You will need to either apply for a new visa or inform the Coronavirus Immigration Team that you cannot leave via their website here.

What Are the Benefits of the NHS Staff Scheme?

If you are currently employed in the UK’s National Health Service (NHS) as a doctor, nurse, or paramedic and are a visa holder, you will automatically be entitled to

an additional year on your visa. This only applies to you if your current visa expires before the 1st of October 2020. This additional year will also apply to your dependant family members automatically, as long as they were already dependant on your visa. In addition to this automated extension, you will not be required to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) for the same year. As the scheme is applied automatically, you will not need to take any action. The government has announced plans to deal with the NHS directly in order for the scheme to be rolled out as seamlessly as possible.

What Help Can Migrant Employees and Migrant Entrepreneurs Get from the Home Office

One of the biggest impact areas of the global coronavirus outbreak is the economy. Many businesses have either been forced to temporarily shut down or reduce their operations, with some, unfortunately, going into administration, The government has implemented several changes that will assist both migrant employees (Tier 2, Tier 4 Student and Tier 5 Visa holders) and Migrant business owners (Tier 1 Entrepreneur, Innovator, and Start-Up Visa holders). These measures are intended to help not only the migrant but also a sponsoring business that pays the salary of employees that hold a visa Below we have laid out what has changed for both employees and entrepreneurs:

Employees

Probably the most widely used scheme that has cost the government billions of pounds to fund is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS), also referred to as Furlough. This allows businesses to lay off staff temporarily where they must cease day to day duties until they are brought back into work to continue as normal. Businesses can furlough Tier 2 General visa migrants, (we sought direct clarification from the UKBA) as well as none migrant employees. For those readers not familiar with the Tier 2 General rules the following 4 points are usually restrictions that if not followed, will result in a Tier 2 visa curtailment:

Work at least full-time hours (30 hours)

  1. Fulfill all duties associated with the SOC code your visa is linked to. So for example, if you are a business development manager, you must perform your job
  2. Work from your designated office location
  3. Report staff absences

Furloughing staff on a Tier 2 visa notwithstanding the usual requirements above is still permitted. If you are a migrant on a Tier 2 General visa and feel like your visa may be canceled as a result, you need not worry. If you are a business that sponsors Tier 2 migrants and you do not want to risk losing them for a violation of the immigration rules, you too need not worry. The government wants people to have jobs to return to and for businesses to make savings so they can continue to employ people and keep the economy active. What salary can furlough workers expect? They will be paid 80 percent of their salary which the employer can claim from the government (up to a maximum of £2,500). Employers can pay the missing 20 percent salary to the employee, although many small businesses may not be able to afford to do this

Entrepreneurs

Many business owners will also be feeling the pressure of the global virus outbreak. The world’s economy has rapidly slowed down as it has the revenue of many businesses in the UK. The government has helped to steady the economy by introducing the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme which pays 80 percent of furloughed staff members wages for 3 months. This should allow many businesses to cut much of their day to day cost in hope that they will retain staff for when things return to normal.

The government has also reduced restrictions on migrant entrepreneurs whose businesses have been affected by the coronavirus outbreak. While you usually need to employ at least 2 workers for a continuous period of 12 months to maintain your visa conditions, you can now split this period between multiple employees over different months. If you have furloughed staff then you will not be able to count the period in which they are away from the business towards the employment requirement.

Also, if you are close to your visa expiring and have been unable to get to the 12-month employment requirement, the Home Office is offering temporary extensions so that you can meet the requirement and then extend your visa. This is a welcome addition to both migrants that need the support and the UK’s economy that needs to recover.

Immigration Summary

The government cannot instantaneously eradicate the deadly coronavirus outbreak, they are doing all that they can to ensure that the country can return to a level of normality as soon as it is safe. While there will be winners and losers, it is clear the government has taken the action necessary to help migrants stay in the UK, despite the incredibly difficult challenges it faces - this we can only appreciate.

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ACQ5 Awards Award
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Three Best Rated
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University Of Cambridge

O.L

Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing.

As a lawyer myself I can categorically say that he knows his stuff, gentle, responsive, cares about you and not just about the money, very professional.
I mean I can go on and on!

Andy and the entire team at Reiss Edwards are amazing!

Thanks again Andy.

Kiran Sardar


I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this professional as there are lots of emotions always involved in each and every case.

The way they dealt with my case during COVID19 Situation is highly appreciable. I would definitely recommend Joe D. and Anna F. Anna is an amazing lady, her patience is beyond my words.

Her hard work and professionalism have no boundaries. She is the right person for all type of cases.

Thanks to Anna and Joe for all your support and guidance which helped me fulfill my dream.

I would say Reiss Edwards is lucky to have Joe D. and Anna F. Great job Reiss Edwards.

thanks once again. Anna you’re a Gem and a Star.

Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was outstanding. Handling the case with constant correspondence over a lengthy, lockdown delayed 7-month application process. Her expert advice guided us successfully through some difficult times as a result of COVID-19. Some of the best service I have received for any service ever! Often replying to emails late at night, offering to send additional correspondence to the home office and going above and beyond in handling our case! Well done and thank you Reiss Edwards and thank you Anna!!".

Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR application was successful 6 weeks after the submission amidst the COVID-19 pandemic. I also think the portfolio put together by the team at Reiss Edwards has played a big part in the quick turnaround of my application".

Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee. I would heartily recommend them to anyone looking to secure a Visa and /or Visa renewal. I will use them again when mine needs to renew. Great value".

Majlinda Berisha

"The help, the professionalism, the kindness from this team is phenomenal. A massive thank you to Anna Foley.

I have had a really tough time with getting my husband’s visa. My last immigration lawyer made many mistakes that caused stress, disappointments and sadness.

I was weary about getting another lawyer as I thought I was going to go through the same experience but no, it turned out better than what I had hoped or even imagined.

What I received was: constant emails and calls updating me and asking if anything else is needed. If I called and they missed my phone call I would get a call back within 10 minutes. All of my documents were carefully checked and I would get a reply the next day if anything was missing or not correct. There were times that I was impatient and asked to just send the visa off, but was reminded that everything had to be perfect and correct before submitting the application. I was told about every option I had and discussed what the best would be. I was always spoke in a nice, calm, polite manner.

The overall intelligence of this team, especially Anna Foley for me, is outstanding. I am speechless. Anna done such an amazing job on my husband’s application that although we couldn’t apply for the fast service and was told to wait for 12 weeks, we got a reply within 5 weeks.

That alone shows what an amazing and talented team Reiss Edwards are. Thank you".

Christine .C

"I wholeheartedly recommend Reiss Edwards to anyone who is in search of immigration advice. I had the pleasure of speaking with Amar who has been very thorough in finding a solution to my enquiry, and followed up with additional information even after the consultation. I normally don't leave reviews, and this firm already has enough good reviews for me to need to my own anyways! However, in this instance, I do hope that my review can let anyone who reads it be aware that RE is a great choice, these people care enough to help you the best they can".

Zohaib Butt

"I had the chance to use Reiss Edwards services for my Tier 2 extension. Marija dealt with my case and I found her very professional and experienced in dealing with my application. The care and attention to detail was exceptional. I would definitely recommend Reiss Edwards!".

Quintus Liu

"Knowledgeable, experienced, and relatable. Translated a complex process into steps that are easy to follow. Cruised to 3 successive wins on my Tier 1 graduate/entrepreneurship visa which allowed us to play our part in making the UK a better and healthier place!".

Khasan Vosijonov

"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy.

As a family, we are all grateful to Anna Foley and her firm Reiss Edwards, for doing all the hard work and giving us the best support. Finally We found the best law firm".

Saira Lawson-Brown

"Highly professional organisation and really supportive solicitors. Ina Iteva the solicitor that was provided to us was a blessing in disguise, as our first solicitor was let go off due to pandemic. She was so supportive and understanding throughout the process, and my husband spouse visa was granted due to their effort and attention to detail. We constantly try to keep in touch with her and consider her as more of a friend now than a solicitor. Sure, to bother her and the firm more in the future".

Nora Nkechi

"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".

Deepak Chartbhurjh

"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".

Hakeem Salam

"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".

Top Notch Immigration Service

"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".

Mo Hussein

"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".

Gallagher Jones

"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".

Richard Stone

"I 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 wasn't 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 their case, contact Reiss Edwards".

Fong Li

"Investing over 2 million pounds is definitely 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".

Nancy Jacquard

"It's a shame that you don't 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".

Florence Giwa

"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".

Salisu Ibrahim

"Fantastic Solicitors!!! 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".

Amir Sandeep

"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".

Reiss Edwards Reviews

O.L

"Andy Tieu is absolutely amazing, as a lawyer myself I can categorically say tha...

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Kiran Sardar

"I found Joe very helpful and tremendous patience which is a must in this profes...

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Cheyam Shaked

"Anna Foley was the lawyer helping my partner obtain an EEA EFM visa. She was ou...

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Isaac .T

"Professional service. I was very impressed with the fact that my ILR applicatio...

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Jesse Lee

"Reiss Edwards did a great job, and so much work, for their reasonable fixed fee...

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Majlinda Berisha

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"Thank you, Ms. Anna Foley! I am writing this with tears of joy. As a family, we...

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Saira Lawson-Brown

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"I contacted Reiss Edwards to help me with my wife's UK settlement visa. They ac...

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"I have just had British Citizenship application approved. Prior to making the a...

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"Investing over 2 million pounds is defintely not a routine decision. We had to ...

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"It's a shame that you don't have an 'Excellent' star rating on here, as my expe...

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