IMMIGRATION AND ASYLUM: CORONAVIRUS UPDATE
The Law Centre is still open and the immigration team are working slightly differently to adapt to the measures introduced in light of the pandemic. But we’re happy to help with your immigration needs.
WHAT WE CAN HELP WITH:
EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME
· Advice and support to EU Nationals and their family members
· Advising on complex applications for pre-settled and settled status, including:
o Victims/survivors of domestic abuse
o Vulnerable children, including children in care
o People with serious health conditions
· Advice and support to professionals working with EU nationals and their families
· Asylum claims and human trafficking claims
· Immigration and asylum appeals
· Indefinite leave to remain applications
· Family life and private life leave to remain applications
· British citizenship applications
· Judicial reviews
· Fixed fee service for a range of immigration work, including: applications to the Home Office and appeals
HOW TO CONTACT US:
We’re available by telephone on the following days between 2-5 pm:
EU Settlement Scheme queries: every Monday on 020 8148 5273.
Immigration & Asylum queries: every Tuesday on 0203 934 8060
Alternatively, you can email email@example.com or call 020 3880 1727 and leave a voicemail with your name and phone number and we’ll call you back.
Here is a summary of key developments in the UK’s immigration system in light of the Coronavirus pandemic.
NEW CORONAVIRUS VISA EXTENSION POLICY
The Home Office is granting visa extensions on request to those with leave expiring before 31 May 2020 and who cannot leave the UK because of coronavirus restrictions. To get this extension, those affected must fill in an online form. The Home Office endeavour to respond within 5 working days of the request.
AUTOMATIC ONE-YEAR EXTENSION FOR NHS WORKERS
The Home Office announced on 31 March that around 2,800 doctors, nurses and paramedics with leave due to expire by 1 October 2020 would get a free one-year extension. Family members are included and there are no fees involved.
UK VISA APPLICATION CENTRES
All visa application centres within the UK are closed as of 27 March.
Sopra Steria, which runs the network of Visa and Citizenship Application Centres on behalf of the Home Office, has the following message on its website:
The UKVCAS service is currently suspended
The worldwide response to COVID-19 continues to affect the UK’s Visa and Immigration Service. As a result, the UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services (UKVCAS), led by Sopra Steria on behalf of UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI), has suspended all services to help protect the health and wellbeing of our customers and staff.
This will remain under review with UKVI as the situation evolves.
HOME OFFICE CONTACT DETAILS
The Home Office’s dedicated coronavirus helpline:
Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk. Your email must be in English.
We’ll reply to your email within 5 working days.
You can also call the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. If you’ve emailed the help centre already, please do not contact them by phone.
Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)
The Home Office’s general immigration helpline is 0300 123 2241.
The [First-tier] tribunal has suspended face to face hearings (other than in exceptional circumstances) until further notice. A notice containing instructions on the next steps in your case will be sent to you. We are working through the listed cases in priority and date order and you should wait until we contact you. Please do not call us unless your enquiry is urgent. Bail applications will be prioritised and where a hearing is required, will be listed to take place by telephone or video. Users are advised to contact the relevant hearing centre on the email addresses below until further notice.
There may be some delays in processing non-urgent work. Please see below different ways in which we are dealing with appeals and judicial reviews.
Appeals and Permission to Appeal applications to UTIAC:
- Appeals that were listed for hearing have been postponed. All appeals to UTIAC are being judicially case managed. There is also limited monitoring of the appeals email inbox currently taking place.
Judicial Reviews in UTIAC:
- A notice was issued (23 March 2020) on handling of urgent Judicial review applications
- Non urgent judicial review applications should be sent by post and will be processed when our capacity increases
- The fees counter at Field House is currently closed and calls to 020 7073 4278 may not be answered
A New Practice Direction on all tribunal cases, including immigration issued on 19 March says:
Where it is reasonably practicable and in accordance with the overriding objective to hear the case remotely (that is in any way that is not face-to-face, but which complies with the definition of ‘hearing’ in the relevant Chamber’s procedure rules), it should be heard remotely.
The Home Office have paused interviews for now.
With effect from 18 March 2020, Applicants wishing to lodge a Further Submission in support of a fresh claim for asylum will be able to submit this via e-mail to a dedicated in-box or through the pre-existing postal route. The in-box for Further Submissions to be e-mailed to is CSUEC@homeoffice.gov.uk.
EU SETTLEMENT SCHEME
The telephone helpline for EU settled status enquiries is closed, but emails to the Settlement Resolution Centre are still being answered.
Documents are no longer being accepted by post, and the Home Office is advising that there will be delays in decision-making.