UK government permits visa extensions; employers of expat workers can claim benefits – Times of India

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MUMBAI: United Kingdom’s home office has clarified that foreign nationals currently in the UK, whose visa tenure has expired or is due to expire before May 31, will get an extension up to May end.
For this purpose, records need to be updated with the ‘Coronoavirus Immigration Team’. This clarification comes in the wake of immigrants being strandered in UK due to Covid-19 as there are no international flights.
Employees in the UK having a valid visa tenure, can also submit an application to extend their stay before their existing visa expires. This can be done online, on paying of the requisite fees. Readers can obtain more details from the official website: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents
A significant chunk of Tier 2 visas (for skilled workers) are allotted to Indians. During the calendar year 2019, Indians accounted for more than half of all Tier 2 visas granted during this period. The number of visas allotted to Indians increased by 3% over the previous year to stand at 57,199. The total number of Tier 2 visas allotted were 1.02 lakh and signified an increase of 11%.
In a significant relaxation, the home office explains that if an individual has applied for a Tier 2 visa and is waiting for its adjudication, he or she can still start work if a certification of sponsorship has been obtained. However, the application should have been submitted before expiry of the current visa and the job should be the same as the one listed in this sponsorship certificate. However, if the visa application is eventually rejected, the sponsorship will stop and you can no longer continue to work.
The UK government has stepped in to help employers. Fragomen, a global immigration law firm, points out that it was previously unclear whether Tier 2 sponsors can make use of the ‘Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme’ or whether this would interfere with the terms of their sponsorship.
It is now clarified that even those employing Tier 2 workers can furlough them, and can claim up to 80% of their salary (up to a maximum of GBP 2,500 per month) to cover ongoing salary costs. However, it is provided that such reduction in pay must be part of a company-wide policy. The Tier 2 worker’s pay must return to at least the previous levels, once this arrangement has ended.

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