The UK Home Office are continually reviewing their guidance on the immigration rules as the situation in relation to COVID-19 changes. Here is the latest update:
If you are in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020:
Applying to remain in the UK long term
The Home Office have relaxed the rules that require some migrants to return home for a visa, for example, if you wish to switch from Tier 2 dependent to Tier 4.
The guidance up until the 26 July 2020 confirmed that you could apply to switch within the UK if your leave expired before 31 July 2020. From 26 June 2020 this has been relaxed further to allow applications from within the UK if your leave expires after 31 July 2020 but you urgently need to make a new application, for example to start a new job or course of study, and cannot leave the UK to make an application from overseas.
This includes applications to switch into a different work route or to change jobs in the same route using a new Certificate of Sponsorship).
This latest guidance is not yet reflected in the specific Tier 4 guidance which continues to state:
Students must normally apply to study on a course that commences no more than 28 days before their current leave expires, but we will exercise discretion on this requirement if:
- the student had to apply before 31 July because their current leave would expire on or before that date, and
- the start date of the new course named on the CAS is no later than 1 October 2020.
This concession applies both to students who already hold Tier 4 leave and where the student is applying to switch into Tier 4 from another immigration route under the exceptional switching concession.
The guidance issued on 26 June supersedes the specific Tier 4 guidance and potential students looking to switch in the UK should be permitted to benefit from this latest relaxation.
Tier 4 Sponsors
As sponsors, no enforcement action will be taken against you if you continue to sponsor students who are absent from their studies due to Coronavirus. This includes illness, self-isolation or inability to travel due to restrictions.
In addition to these changes, you are not required to withdraw sponsorship if a student is unable to attend for more than 60 days.
Sponsors can continue to sponsor students who are distance learning, and can commence sponsorship of students who will start studying via distance learning. This includes those who are unable to travel yet.
Applications under Tier 4 can still be made using a CAS previously issues, even if the start date of the course may now be later than that stated on the CAS. As long as the CAS is showing as ‘assigned’ rather than used or expired and the new start date has been noted in the sponsor notes field, the CAS will be considered as normal.
For further information on Coronavirus and UK Universities you can check international updates and FAQs at https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/International/Pages/Covid-19-intl.aspx
Advice on non-immigration matters for students and education institutions
For those who require legal advice on non-immigration matters OTB Legal are pleased to recommend https://www.salimamawji.com/
Our Previous Coronavirus Immigration Rules Updates
To catch up on all of our updates please see the links below:
As ever, we are available to give you a free initial consultation to address any concerns you have arising out of the Coronavirus immigration rules update in these difficult circumstances. You can book a chat with one of our friendly and knowledgeable legal advisors at a time to suit you.