The Home Office introduced the following changes due to the Coronavirus public health crisis to immigration process and asylum.
Extension of the leave to remain and visas
Some migrants in the UK on visas are unable to return home at the end of their visa. This is due to coronavirus. They can ask the Home office to extend their leave to stay to 31 May.
Asylum screening interviews
The Home Office cancelled some screening interviews.
The new system for asylum claims will be introduced soon by the Home Office to limit the contact and travel of the registrants.
Substantive asylum interviews
The Home Office currently paused the substantive asylum interviews.
The Home Office informs:
“Many of our applicants travel a long way to have a substantive asylum interview, which can be a lengthy interaction taking several hours. On that basis, we have decided to pause face to face substantive asylum interviews for now. That means we will be cancelling any that are scheduled from tomorrow 19 March and will not be scheduling any new face to face interviews for now. “
The Home Office is considering the alternative ways of carrying out the interviews due to the coronavirus public health policy. For example, they already carry out some substantive interviews by video link/Skype).
Asylum support due to the coronavirus Health Crisis
Currently, there are not many changes in ending people’s asylum support.
Due to the Coronavirus public health crisis, the Asylum Support Appeals Project (ASAP) has issued a new fact sheet about asylum support and COVID-19. There are some people, whose “appeal rights exhausted”. Some of them do not currently have a fresh claim under consideration by the Home Office. They all may receive some support. They cannot now leave the UK due to the COVID-19 travel restrictions and the grounding of flights.
Further Submissions (Fresh Claims)
The previous requirement to submit further evidence in person in Liverpool for consideration by the Home Office as a fresh claim is not available. Now the applicants can submit their further evidence by post or email. The applicant has to explain who he/she is, why he/she submits the evidence, why the submitted evidence amounts to a fresh claim. The evidence must be sent to the following postal address: Further Submissions Unit, The Capital Building, Old Hall Street, Liverpool, L3 9PP, or by email: CSUCE@homeoffice.gov.uk
Appeals And Judicial Reviews
From 25 March, the First-tier Tribunal does not list the face-to-face appeal hearings. Until at least 30 April, judges will carry out Case Management Review Hearings by telephone and decide whether the Home Office and appellant are ready to proceed with the full hearing a few weeks later.
Due to coronavirus, the First-tier tribunals will hold the new full hearings by video.
The Upper Tribunal has cancelled almost all listed hearings, even most of the Judicial Reviews.
Reporting To The Home Office
The Home Office temporarily closed reporting centres due to the coronavirus public health policy. All migrants who must report to the Home Office to satisfy the immigration bail condition will receive an SMS text message soon with details of their next reporting date.
Detention Rules In Coronavirus Public Health Crisis
The Home Office closed detention centres to visitors and released 350 people from detention.
The immigration departments made some changes to the case reviewing process due to the Coronavirus public health crisis. The Home Office started urgently reviewing the cases of the most vulnerable detainees and stopped the new detentions of people who would in normal circumstances be facing removal to one of the 49 countries.
Because of COVID-19 travel restrictions, removals to the following countries are not taking place: Afghanistan, Albania, Algeria, Austria, Bulgaria, Cameroon, China, Croatia, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, India, Iraq, Ireland, Jamaica, Jordan, Kenya, Kuwait, Latvia, Lichenstein, Lebanon, Libya, Luxembourg, Mauritania, Morocco, Netherlands, Pakistan, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Somalia, Spain, Sri Lanka, Sudan, Turkey, Uganda, Ukraine, Zimbabwe.
The Home Office Opened The Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre
All people can send their immigration queries related to coronavirus to CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk.