Given the current Covid-19 crisis and need for us all to increase social distancing, the Home Office needs to issue clear and swift guidance to migrants in the UK on their position.
Such measures could include:
- Temporary waiver on the need for biometric enrolment. By doing this, applicants could submit extension applications online and submit supporting documents, which can then be transmitted online to a Home Office caseworker, without the need for in-person interaction by the client, Sopra Steria employee or Home Office caseworker. A small number of appointments would need to be maintained for vulnerable clients who need scanning and online assistance.
- Online temporary fee waiver application, that can be submitted at the same time as online visa application, to allow persons to remain lawfully present in the UK but who may not be able to afford the fees, especially in cases of redundancy / reduced hours as a result of Covid-19.
- All NHS employees, paramedics and other essential service workers should be given automatic fee waivers.
- Extension of automatic grant of leave to those currently in the UK but who cannot return overseas due to Covid-19.
- End immigration detention to prevent the spread of Covid-19 throughout detention centres.
For now, the immigration tribunals remain operating as normal but with people advised to contact the tribunal if the appellant, sponsor, any witness or representative needs to self-isolate and so cannot attend.
Please contact us should you need advice at this time on your individual circumstances: firstname.lastname@example.org