The Latest June 2021 UK Visa News and Guidance
This article will cover three important areas of UK immigration law. These areas may be particularly relevant to some of you who wish to continue residing in the UK after the 30th of June 2021.
These areas are:
- Your Right to Work in the UK after the 30th of June 2021
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice for UK Visa Applicants and Temporary UK Residents
- Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice for Students and Short-term Students
Your Right to Work in the UK
The 31st of December 2020 – the 30th of June 2021
The UK has left the EU, and free movement law in the UK ended on the 31st of December 2020. The six-month grace period ended on the 30th of June 2021.
During this period, the EU, EEA and Swiss nationals had an opportunity to apply for settled or pre-settled status. To do this, they needed to prove their residence in the UK before 31 December 2020. If you haven’t already done so, please do so as soon as possible. I’ve created the online course, explaining how you can do so within a maximum of two hours.
The 30th of June deadline is tied in with the release of a new ‘DRAFT Code of practice on preventing illegal working: Civil penalty scheme for employers June 2021’ (the code). Draft Code will be effective from the 1st of July 2021. You can check the draft version here.
From the 1st of July 2021
From the 1st of July 2021, EEA citizens and their family members can no longer rely on an EEA passport or national identity card to prove their right to work. They’ll need to confirm their immigration status and their right to work in the UK in the same way as all other foreign nationals do.
It shouldn’t be a problem for EEA nationals and their family members with settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme. They can evidence their right to work by sharing their immigration status digitally, using the Home Office online right to work service.
However, most EEA nationals and their family members who entered the UK after the 31st of December 2020 will not have settled or pre-settled status. Therefore, many EEA nationals and their family members will not have an automatic right to work. For this reason, UK employers need to check this code to understand how to do the right to work checks. Failure to do so can lead to a civil or criminal penalty.
There are two ways to check the right to work: by conducting manual document-based right to work checks and online.
Manual Document-Based Right to Work Checks
To undertake manual check, employers only need to follow three simple steps:
- Obtain original versions of one or more acceptable documents (from lists A and B of the code).
- Check these documents in the presence of the prospective employee; and
- Make copies of the documents, retain the copies, and record the date on which they checked the documents. To do this, they can simply write: ‘the date on which this right to work check was made:[insert date].’
When checking these documents, employers will need to ensure that the prospective employees’ documents are genuine and belong to them. The employers will also need to ensure that all photographs and dates of birth are consistent across all documents and with the prospective employee’s appearance.
List A Documents
List A contains the range of documents that the employers may accept for checking purposes. These documents confirm the person’s permanent right to work in the UK. If employers follow the prescribed right to work checks, they will establish a ‘continuous statutory excuse’ for the duration of that person’s employment.
The documents from List A may include passports showing that the holder is a British citizen. The same rules apply to citizens of the UK and Colonies with the right of abode. Irish citizens also have an automatic right to work in the UK.
Additionally, this can be a certificate of registration or naturalisation as a British citizen, together with an official document giving the person’s permanent National Insurance number and their name issued by a government agency or a previous employer.
For a detailed table of List A documents, click this link.
List B Documents
List B contains the range of documents that the employers may accept for checking purposes for a person who has a temporary right to work in the UK. If employers follow the prescribed right to work checks, they will establish a ‘time-limited statutory excuse.’ This means that they’ll need to carry out follow-up checks in future.
A 6-month Statutory Excuse
All employers will get a 6-month statutory excuse if the prospective employee has a document confirming that s/he applied under the EU Settlement scheme before the 1st of July 2021. However, in addition to obtaining a copy of the document, the employer will need to get a Positive Verification Notice from the Home Office Employer Checking Service.
Online Right to Work Checks
From the 1st of July 2021, there will be prospective employees who can only confirm their immigration status digitally. In this case, they’ll also need to use the online service to prove their right to work.
The online service works straightforwardly. First of all, the prospective employee will need to view their own Home Office right to work profile using the GOV.UK service ‘Prove your right to work to an employer’.
Employees may then choose to share this information with the employer by providing them with a ‘share code’. The employer will need to enter this code together with the prospective employee’s date of birth. It will help the employer to access the information via the online service available on GOV. UK’ View a job applicant’s right to work details’.
The prospective employee, or an employee who already works, may provide this to the employer directly, or they may choose to send this via the service, in which case the employer will receive an email from right.to.work.service @ notifications.service.gov.uk
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice for UK Visa Applicants and Temporary UK Residents
Several days ago, the Home Office updated its ‘Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK visa applicants and temporary residents’ guide. It clarifies the rights to make visa applications in the UK.
According to this guidance, if your visa expires on or before the 30th of June 2021, you can switch to a long-term immigration category from within the UK. The Home Office called it ‘the switching concession’.
They further clarified that if you have permission to remain in any category – you will be able to apply for permission to stay in any other category. You’ll need to meet all of the requirements for permission to stay in the Immigration Rules for the new category, of course.
However, if the Immigration Rules do not allow you to make an in-country application for the new category (for example, Youth Mobility Scheme), then you’ll need to leave the UK and apply for entry clearance to re-enter the UK again.
If You Want to Leave and Your Visa Expired by the 30th of June 2021
If you intend to leave the UK but have not been able to do so and you have a visa or leave that expires by the 30th of June 2021, you may request additional time to stay, known as ‘exceptional assurance‘.
You’ll need to submit an urgent request for an exceptional assurance by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with the following details:
- full name
- date of birth
- Home Office, GWF or any other reference number
- type of visa
- the expiry date of visa
- reason for request
- evidence of flight or evidence showing reason you can’t leave
The subject header of your email should read “Request for an assurance”.
Coronavirus (COVID-19) Advice for Student Sponsors, Migrants and Short-term Students
The Home Office has also updated its ‘Covid-19: Guidance for Student sponsors, migrants and Short-term students’ Guidance.
The update extends the deadline for student applicants who started their course in 2020 and are studying overseas via distance learning to apply under the graduate route.
The guidance states that such applicants can apply under the graduate route if they enter the UK before the 27th of September 2021 or before their permission expires, whichever is sooner. They’ve extended the deadline. Previously it was the 21st of June 2021.
include reintroducing the concession permitting students who hold permission as a student or child student to commence a course of study over 28 days from the expiry of their permission. The Home Office further clarified that, in relation to the academic progression concessions, a student applicant may only apply for a new course (on the same level as the previous one) if they have successfully completed their previous course.
In the same guidance, the Home Office confirmed that all eligible students could apply under the Graduate route from the 1st of July 2021.
Students will generally need to show that they’ve undertaken their studies in the UK to qualify for the Graduate route. However, if students continued their current studies or commenced a new course by distance or blended learning due to Covid-19, they can also apply to switch into the Graduate route. Like all other applicants, they’ll need to meet the requirements of the route.
The Graduate Route Requirements
Students will generally need to show that they:
- have successfully completed an eligible course at a higher education provider with a track record of compliance;
- have existing permission for that course as a Student at the point of application; and
- make their application in the UK
Also, those students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 via distance learning and who have not previously entered the UK to study that course will be able to make a Graduate route application. To do this, they’ll need to make a successful Student visa application. The students will need to arrive in the UK before their visa ends. Alternatively, they can arrive by the 27th of September 2021, whichever is sooner.
Those students who began a course of 12 months or less in 2020 or 2021 who have existing permission as a Student to study that course, and who have already travelled to the UK during that period of permission can make a Graduate application. They’ll need to prove their presence in the UK before the end date of their permission.
For more information about this route, visit: https://ukvisasuccess.com/graduate
For instant access to UKVisaSuccess.com online courses showing how to make visas applications CLICK HERE.