The Home Office has eased visa restrictions for migrant entrepreneurs, NHS workers and visa overstayers, amid the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
It is understood that penalties for overstaying a UK visa have been scrapped, whilst NHS workers currently in Britain on a visa can work anywhere without any limit on the number of hours they can work.
A statement released by the Home Office said:
“There will be no future adverse immigration consequences for people whose visa or leave to remain expired between 24 January and 31 August 2020, and who did not apply to regularise their stay (legally extend it).”
Those Failing to Apply for Extension Still to be Penalised
Whilst there will be no penalty if a person applies for another visa later, those who fail to apply to extend their current stay in the UK before their visa expires ‘must make arrangements to leave the UK’.
Overseas nationals who were due to leave the UK in November and have been unable to due to flight restrictions or testing positive for Covid-19, can request additional time to remain in the UK.
Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa Rules Relaxed
The government has dropped the requirement for business owners in the UK on an Entrepreneur Visa to hire at least two people for 12 consecutive months. The 12-month period can now be made up of multiple jobs which do not have to be over consecutive months.
If employees were furloughed during the pandemic, this does not count towards the 12 months. Those in the UK under an Entrepreneur Visa who have been unable to hire staff for 12 months within their visa validity period can apply to extend their visa, giving them time to meet the requirement.
Rules for NHS Workers
Overseas NHS workers will now be permitted to work at any hospital during the coronavirus pandemic and serve in any healthcare job at any skill level. Restrictions on the number of hours they can work have also been lifted.
Rules for International Students
New Home Office guidelines state that international students can start studying in the UK prior to a Tier 4 Visa being issued. Students must have confirmation of being accepted on a course or an application must have been made to renew their current visa before it expires.
Rules for Tier 2 and Tier 5 Workers
Are you Looking to Extend your Visa?
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Visa restrictions will be eased for many overseas nationals living in the UK
The requirement for Tier 1 Entrepreneur Visa holders to hire at least two people in a 12-month period has been scrapped.
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