Foreign nationals who cannot return home due to coronavirus pandemic will be able to extend their visa the Home Office has said.
Leave will be extended to 31 May for individuals who are currently unable to return home at the end of their visa.
The extension, announced on Tuesday by the Home Secretary Priti Patel, will apply to anyone whose leave expired after 24 January and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation.
A dedicated COVID-19 immigration team has been set up within UKVI to make the process as straightforward as possible.
Ms Patel said: “The UK continues to put the health and wellbeing 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.
“Many foreign nationals have found themselves unable to return home since the outbreak of COVID-19 due to flight cancellations and border restrictions.”
Immigration lawyers have been mounting pressure on the department to update its immigration guidance in order to ensure that foreign nationals who cannot return to their home countries are not treated as immigration offenders.
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 that anyone who contacts the department for visa extensions will be expected to return to their home countries as soon as possible once flight and border restrictions are lifted.
Anyone in this situation just needs to contact this team, via this email address CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk, to let them know their visa has expired.