1) I am visiting the UK at the moment, Can I switch to another visa. I heard you must go back home and come back on the new visa category, is this correct?
2) I am sponsoring my partner, will their application be refused if my income drops below £18,600 because I have been furloughed or what about my friend who is self-employed has his own business and his income has dropped due to the pandemic.
3) I need an English test certificate as part of my immigration application, but the English test centres are still closed, can I make my visa application without it?
4) I went abroad for a short visit but got stuck due to the virus lock-down, will this affect my visa renewal or ILR application due to too much time outside the UK?
5) I work for the NHS will my UK visa be extended automatically?
6) When will the UK visa offices open for fingerprints?
So in short, in this blog we cover, Switching visas in the UK, drop in income due to the virus pandemic, missing documents, additional absences due to the current global crisis, automatic 1 year NHS visas concession by the Home Office and when will the UK visa offices re-open. If you have other questions feel free to write them in the comment section and we will try to answer them in the next blog.
Please remember the information provided is of general nature and based solely on the guidance recently provided by the UK Home Office. Your personal circumstances may differ and so the advice will be different.
Can you switch visa in the UK?
The answer depends on what type of visa you have at the moment and what visa you are looking to move to. Usually, the Home Office provides a list of visa categories that you can switch from. Fortunately, the UK Home Office has made some concessions on this and will allow people to switch whilst in the UK. This is until 31 July 2020. It seems the Home Office is making subtle changes, tweaking the wording to discourage some type of applications. Which is not fair. In any event, the Home Secretary Priti Patel did state that people will not be punished for something that was beyond their control. Seek professional advice in your particular case and get the right balance between risks, convenience and overall costs.
My income has dropped, will my visa be refused?
The Home Office has finally provided clarity on this issue. They will consider evidence from the pre-Coronavirus period as evidence that you do indeed meet the financial requirements. As you can see from their guidance, even if you are on 80% furlough they will disregard the 20% temporary drop. However, nothing people who lose their job as a result of the pandemic.
The guide states: Changes to the minimum income and adequate maintenance requirement If you have experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus, we will consider employment income for the period immediately before the loss of income due to coronavirus, provided the requirement was met for at least 6 months up to March 2020. If your salary has reduced because you’re furloughed, we will take account of your income as though you’re earning 100% of your salary.
If you’re self-employed, a loss of annual income due to coronavirus between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 will generally be disregarded, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications. ….
English Tests and other documents
The update issued on 9th June 2020 specifically mentions test certificates and specified documents as thousands of applicants are stuck in a limbo, unable to obtain any required documents as test centres, agencies and offices are closed. The Home Office will either give you extra time to provide the missing documents or waive the requirement altogether.
When you apply for ILR or nationality they have limits on how long you can be away from the UK. Also if you do not renew your visas within time your continuous residency breaks. In this regard, the Home Office has made concessions. It states that they will ignore short Coronavirus related break in continuous UK residence. If you’re unable to travel back to the UK due to coronavirus travel restrictions and your leave has expired, a short break in continuous residence will be overlooked. You are expected to make your next application as soon as possible. Visa application centres
The UK based application centres are open, they open on 1st June 2020, but due to social distancing and high demand, you may not be able to get an appointment at present. As regards globally, for your location-specific information, please visit the website of the visa centre or use their contact details.
UK Immigration Law Video
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