U.K. Immigration Update: Coronavirus May 2020
14-Day Quarantine Rules for International Travellers Entering the U.K.
International travellers arriving in the U.K. on or after 8 June 2020 will be asked to go into quarantine for two weeks. The Home Office has announced that this measure will come into force on 8 June. There is a separate list of exceptions, including for arrivals from within the Common Travel Area covering the U.K., Ireland, the Isle of Man, and the Channel Islands.
Travellers without pre-arranged accommodation will be required to self-isolate in facilities arranged by the government. The quarantine is strict, and individuals who are subject to this quarantine must not leave their residence for 14 days otherwise they will face penalties.
The Home Office have set a new fixed penalty of £100 fine for those individuals who fail to comply with a request to complete the required form and provide the required details. They have also implemented a new penalty of £1,000 fine for those who fail to self-isolate. Those who continue to fail to comply with these rules may be subject to further criminal prosecution including unlimited fines.
The quarantine will be reviewed every three weeks. This means that the earliest estimated date that this rule will be reviewed is 29 June 2020.
The Home Office previously granted visa extensions on request to those with leave expiring after 24 January 2020 and before 31 May 2020 who could not leave the U.K. due to coronavirus. This request was not automatic, and a request had to be made for the visa extension to be granted.
On 22 May the Home Office announced that those with visas already extended would automatically have them extended further. There is no need for this group of people to take any action. However, those foreign national individuals who have not already asked for an extension will need to make a request for this extension to apply to them. View the online form.
Switching Visa Categories In-Country
The Home Office guidance also includes information relating to switching visas. The guidance permits individuals to “apply from the U.K. to switch to a long-term U.K. visa until 31 July 2020 if your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.”
Bereavement Scheme for Family Members of NHS and Health and Social Care Workers
Family members of NHS workers who die from COVID-19 will be able to get indefinite leave to remain for free. The Home Office has announced that this bereavement scheme will be extended to NHS support staff and social care workers. The means that all dependents of NHS staff and social care workers who die as a result of contracting coronavirus will be offered indefinite leave to remain free of charge. This should be automatic, but those affected can contact UKVINHSTeam@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Immigration Heath Surcharge
The Prime Minister has pledged to scrape the Immigration Health Surcharge for all NHS workers. This fee is currently payable by foreign national migrants entering the U.K. This fee covers the cost of the NHS whether the foreign national migrants use the service or not. U.K. government officials are currently working on how to implement this change.
U.K. Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS)
Some UKVCAS will reopen for existing customers on 1 June 2020. It is understood that what the UKCAS mean by existing customers are applicants who have already booked an appointment to attend an application centre and had their appointment put on hold or deferred will be able to process their applications. UKVCAS will contact applicants directly to advise them of their next steps. UKVCAS have are yet to release any new appointments.