Latest updates on COVID-19 and UK immigration matters

Breytenbachs give a brief outline below of the latest developments. 

International travel and the UK's COVID-19 recovery strategy 

The UK Government has outlined its plan to start lifting restrictions and how it will introduce a series of measures and restrictions at the UK border. However, there is still no indication as to when international travel will be allowed to reopen. Breytenbachs expect, however, that it might be introduced shortly, and will keep our clients updated. 

When international travel reopens the UK Government are planning to introduce the following measures:

  1. International arrivals in the UK have to provide their accommodation information. The UK Government will strongly urge international travelers to download and use the NHS contact tracing app. 

  2. International arrivals who are not on the short-list of exemptions will be required to self-isolate in their accommodation for fourteen days on arrival in the UK. If such persons are not able to demonstrate where they would self-isolate, they will be required to do so in accommodation arranged by the UK Government. [*]Journeys within the Common Travel Area will be exempt from these measures. 

UK Government to extend the furlough scheme to October 2020

The furlough scheme will be extended to October 2020. The pay wage scheme enables workers to receive 80% of their monthly wages up to £2,500 during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Migrant workers in the UK can thus continue to benefit from the furlough scheme. The good news for migrants in the UK is that furlough is not considered as 'public funds.' If a migrant in the UK is placed on furlough, it will not impact on their immigration status. 

Visa extensions for migrant health and care workers 

Crucial health and care workers from overseas will receive free visa extensions. The visa extensions will be automatic for frontline workers whose visas expire between 31 March and 1 October 2020. 

The free visa extension builds on the previous grant for the same extension to doctors, nurses, and paramedics employed by the NHS. The frontline workers that will receive the automatic visa extensions include; midwives, radiographers, social workers, and pharmacists. It will apply to frontline workers working in the NHS and the independent sector.  

Excellent news for these workers is that the one-year extension will include their family members and that all will be exempt from the Immigration Health Surcharge for the duration of the exemption. 

Indefinite leave to remain for bereaved family members of health care workers 

The Home Secretary has announced that the UK Government will offer the status of Indefinite Leave to Remain to family members and dependents of health care workers who pass away as a result of COVID-19. 

Visa vignettes can now be replaced for up to 90 days

The Home Office confirmed that if you have a 30-day visa to travel to the UK for work, study, or to join family that has expired or is about to expire, you can request a replacement visa with revised validity dates until the end of 2020. 

Breytenbachs can confirm that one will now be able to request revised validity dates of up to 90 days until the end of 2020.

To arrange to apply for a revised visa vignette, please contact us at or visit our website at 

You are also welcome to fill out the form below. 

Please note that the information in this article does not constitute professional advice. It is provided for general information purposes, without giving any warranty of any kind, either expressed or implied.

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