Home Office guidance for those unable to return to China during the Coronavirus outbreak

The Home Office has today issued guidance explaining how they will deal with the immigration status of those who are currently unable to return to China.

Chinese nationals who have complied with immigration conditions until the outbreak of the virus and whose leave expired after 24th January 2020  will automatically have their leave to remain extended until 31st March 2020. This will also apply to anyone whose leave will expire between now and 30th March 2020.

There is a helpline that can be contacted free of charge on 0800 678 1768 to request a new biometric residence document with a revised date.

The guidance also confirms that Chinese nationals wishing to switch from Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer status can switch into Tier 2 ( General) without leaving the UK if their leave expired/will expire between 24th January and 30th March 2020.

Please contact us if you have questions on the above or on any of the issues covered by the guidance.

Dead-lines for EU nationals and their family members

We have now left the EU and are in what’s called the” transitional period”. Almost definitely this will end on 31st December 2020.

If you have not yet made an application under the new “ Settlement Scheme” it makes sense to think about doing so now.

If you are already in the UK or will arrive here before the end of December 2020, you may have until 30th June 2021 to apply. But why wait?

Even if you have a permanent residence card you will still need to apply under the scheme as your card will no longer be proof of your status after the end of 2020.

Children will also have to apply under the scheme though they may be eligible to apply for British Citizenship and, once British, will not need to register under the new scheme.

Similarly, some adults may already be eligible to apply for British Citizenship and for information on this or on any aspect of the above please feel free to contact us.


Exceptional Talent Visa Route to end on 20th February 2020.

If you are planning to apply for a visa under this route  you must apply before the above date ( though endorsement letters issued after this date will still be valid under the new “ Global Talent Route”.)

This “Global Talent Visa” route, as promised by Boris Johnson , seems to offer some genuine good news for universities and research institutions by making researchers named within an application for qualifying research funding automatically eligible for a visa. The route will be attractive to eligible scientists and researchers as they will be able to settle in the UK after just 3 years and as neither they nor their dependents will be prevented from settling on account of excess absences where those absences were work -related.


Students will again be able to remain in the UK and to work for up to two years after they have graduated.

A similar scheme was abolished back in 2012 and there has been a lot of pressure on the Government to re-introduce it.

The recent news has been welcomed by students, universities, and employers.

It is not yet clear whether those who are already studying university courses will benefit.

Eligible students starting in the academic year 2020 will be able to stay and work at the end of their studies.

For information on this or any other aspect of immigration law please contact Jenny Harvey on info@jennyharveyimmigration.co.uk

Extension of Registration Scheme Unlawful

The Supreme Court has recently decided that the extension of the registration scheme between 1st May 2009 and 30th April 2011 was unlawful. Under the scheme nationals of the 8 countries which joined the EU in 2004 were obliged to register as workers before they could start work or change jobs. It was a criminal offence for employers who employed an “ A8” national who had not registered ( with some defences.) Employers who were convicted during this period may wish to see if they can have their convictions overturned.

Applications for confirmation of permanent residence have in some cases been refused on the grounds that Applicants were not registered and that their time working in the UK prior to 30th April 2011 was “ unlawful” This has had a knock-on effect on applications for British Citizenship. If you have been affected by the extension of the scheme , now found to have been unlawful, please feel free to contact Jenny Harvey for advice.

EU Settlement Scheme now open


Applications can be made from nationals of the EU as well as nationals of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway plus family members.

Depending on how long they have lived in the UK those eligible will be granted “settled status” or “pre-settled status.”

There have already been some technical hitches but applications are generally straightforward and free of charge.

You will see lots of relevant information in the link above but please contact Jenny Harvey on info@jennyharveyimmigration.co.uk if you have questions or would like assistance with an application. It may be sensible to ask for advice before making an application if you have lived in the UK for more than 5 years and if you are hoping to apply for British Citizenship. Settled status will not be backdated and you may need to wait a further year until you are able to apply to become British. If you “acquired” permanent residence under current EU rules you may already be able to apply.

Refunds of “Settlement Scheme” Fees to be made automatically

If you have applied under the “Settlement Scheme” you should receive an automatic refund of your £65 fee.

The Home Office has published information about how this should work https://www.gov.uk/guidance/eu-settlement-scheme-application-fee-refunds?utm_source=db925eb2-919d-4b79-904e-51af5997e40d&utm_medium=email&utm_campaign=govuk-notifications&utm_content=immediate

Please contact Jenny Harvey on info@jennyharveyimmigration.co.uk if you have questions about this or about any other aspect of the “settlement” and “pre-settlement” schemes.

PHD Level Jobs to be exempt from Tier 2 Visa Cap

From the autumn of 2019 PHD-level jobs will not be included in the monthly allocation of sponsorship certificates. This should make it easier for employers when recruiting for such posts and will free up some of the allocation for less-skilled employees.

Start-up Visas to replace the Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Visa Route

A new“ Start-up” visa route will be introduced on 29th March 2019 and will replace the previous Tier 1( Graduate Entrepreneur) visa route.

There are some key differences between the new route and its predecessor:

Applicants will need to be endorsed but not necessarily by their own university and the “ endorsing body” will check the business at certain intervals to check for “ reasonable progress.”

Visas will generally last for 2 years and will not lead to settlement but a start-up visa holder may be able to switch into the new “ Innovator “ category and settle after 3 years in that route. No investment will be needed if switching from a start-up visa.

Employment will be permitted in addition to working for the business established and a visa holder can be accompanied by dependents.

For more information on this new route or on any other aspect of the immigration rules please email Jenny Harvey on info@jennyharveyimmigration.co.uk

Changes to Investor Visa Route

Despite recent concerns that the route was going to be abolished, it is going to survive but with significant changes from 29th March 2019.

The investment funds will need to have been held for a full 2 years, rather than 90 days before an application is made and there will be tighter rules on what can be invested in. In particular, government bonds will no longer be accepted as a qualifying investment.

Those who already hold investment visas will be able to apply to extend their leave until 5th April 2023 and settlement applications will be possible until 5th April 2025.

For further information on this or any aspect of the immigration rules please contact Jenny Harvey on info@jennyharveyimmigration.co.uk