Visa extensions offered to expats in the UK

Foreign workers and students will be able to extend their UK visas until at least the end of May if they cannot leave the country because of the coronavirus pandemic.

An image of a UK passport
The government in London has also announced that foreign nationals seeking to switch visas to another category would be allowed, temporarily, to apply from within the UK, rather than having to apply by returning to their countries of origin.The extension applies to anyone whose visa expired after January 24 and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation. Initially, the extension will last until May 31 but will be kept under review by the Home Office in case further extensions are required."Many foreign nationals have found themselves unable to return home since the outbreak of COVID-19 due to flight cancellations and border restrictions," the Home Office said in a statement."The extension has been put in place to give these individuals peace of mind that they will not be penalised for overstaying their visa when the situation is out of their control due to COVID-19."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."

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Visa-switching provisions expanded in the UK

To help those who want to apply for visas to stay in the UK long-term, the Home Office added, there would be a temporary expansion of visa switching provisions - for instance, enabling students to apply to switch from Tier 4 (student) visas to Tier 2 (skilled worker) visas whilst remaining in the UK.The UK Visa and Immigration (UKVI) department said it would process applications as speedily as possible, but said some applications might take longer than usual because of operational pressures resulting from the coronavirus outbreak.UKVI said that a dedicated COVID-19 immigration team had been set up and said any foreign national with an expired visa should email to be issued with an extension.Home Secretary Priti Patel said, "The UK continues to put the health and well being 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."
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Visa announcements a relief for Indian nationals stranded in the UK due to the Coronavirus

India's NDTV reported, "The announcement will come as a relief for Indian nationals, including tourists, professionals and students, who have inundated the social media channels of the Indian High Commission (in London) with queries around their expiring visas."Like many foreign nationals, they have found themselves unable to return home due to flight cancellations and border restrictions over COVID-19-19."Another relief for Indian students and professionals would be the Home Office confirmation that in light of the current advice on self-isolation and social distancing, a waiver of number of requirements on visa sponsors on allowing non-EU nationals under work or study routes to undertake their work or study from home."

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