Key immigration services to continue amid coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown

Key immigration services to continue amid coronavirus (COVID-19) lockdown

The government has announced a new lockdown covering England following the rapid increase of coronavirus (COVID-19) cases, which will be in force between 5 November 2020 and 2 December 2020. The relevant regulations are the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No 4) Regulations 2020, SI 2020/1200. Attending asylum and immigration services and tribunal hearings continues to be permitted and overseas travel will only be permitted for specified reasons, such as work.

The relevant guidance can be found here.

In relation to immigration matters:

• attending asylum and immigration services and interviews, including UKVCAS appointments, falls within the definition of accessing critical public services and is therefore a permitted reason for a person to leave their house

• Sopra Steria has confirmed in their latest service status update that UKVCAS will be 'fully operational' during the lockdown

• attending a tribunal hearing (where this is being held in person) falls within the fulfilling a legal obligation exception—see: LNB News 02/11/2020 73

• overseas travel will only be permitted where this is for one of the reasons that a person is permitted to leave their house, eg for the purposes of work—see para 11. Travel in the guidance on New National Restrictions from 5 November

• the deadline for applying for an 'exceptional assurance' has been extended,​ see: LNB News 02/11/2020 47

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