Visa and Sponsorship Information During COVID-19
One of the many things that spent time in confusion during the escalation of COVID-19 was people’s rights to work in the UK. Perhaps you were already in the UK and your visa was due to expire, or you were trying to get to the UK. Even employers who were planning to sponsor migrant workers were left with little information until the Home Office made its announcements, as helplines were closed down due to the pandemic.
We advise people to keep watching the Gov.UK site for any updates at this link here but below is the information summarised as it stands today, and with a focus on people with temporary visas in the UK, applying for long-term visas, overseas applicants and employee’s sponsoring workers. This is also useful information for any employers out there who employ staff on temporary visas.
In many cases people’s immigration statuses in the UK will not change during this time, but of course it always good to keep up with any updates so you can feel confident you are doing the right thing if you are on a visa or employing people on visas.
Are You in the UK and your Visa Expires Between 4 January 2020 And 31 July 2020?
Your visa will be extended to 31 July 2020 if you cannot leave the UK because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19).
You must request an extension by updating your records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) using this link here.
Are You Applying to Stay in the UK Long-term?
You can apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 July 2020 if your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 and this includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country. You will still need to meet all the visa requirements as per usual. The terms of your leave will remain the same until your application is decided.
Some UK Visa and Citizenship Application Centres (UKVCAS) have reopened for existing customers, you can check which UKVCAS centres are open here.
Are You Outside the UK?
Please be aware there are changes at the border because of coronavirus as the situation is constantly evolving. Be sure you check what you need to do before you travel.
Some overseas UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) are resuming services where local restrictions allow and services will reopen in phases. For updates to the status of VACs in your country check with
Has Your 30 Day Vignette Expired and You Can’t Collect Your BRP?
You can request a replacement visa by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre if your 30 day visa to travel to the UK for work has expired. This is free of charge until the end of this year.
To make a request, you will need to include your name, nationality, date of birth and your GWF reference number with ‘REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA’ in the subject line. Replacement visas will be valid for a further 90 days.
You will not be penalised for being unable collect your BRP while coronavirus measures are in place and this process will be in place until the end of 2020.
Have You Applied for a Tier 2 Visa Because You Have Been Sponsored?
The good news is if you have applied for a Tier 2 or 5 visa and are awaiting a decision on your application you can actually start working before your visa application has been decided if:
- You’ve been assigned a Certificate of Sponsorship (CoS)
- You submitted your application before your current visa expired and you show your sponsor evidence of this
- The job you start is the same as the one listed on your CoS
If your application is eventually rejected as invalid or refused your sponsor will stop sponsoring you and you must stop working for them.
Are You an Employer Who is in the Process of Sponsoring an Employee?
As outlined above your worker can start work under the COS you applied for as long as all employment details are the same. We would recommend obtaining a copy of their visa application or proof they have applied for their visa.
You can keep up to date with sponsor guidance here.
For any immigration queries we recommend you contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre on 0800 678 1767 or CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.
Take care, stay safe and stay positive!
Australasian Recruitment Company
We are open for business and here for you when you need us so give us a call on 020 7625 3300. We are also pipelining candidates to be ready for when the market turns and you can submit your CV here.