Coronavirus (COVID-19)

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Petition Extended Visas indefinitely for International Students.

To extend Visa stay rights for Tier 4 and other Student Visas that will potentially be affected by delayed Uni submissions and graduations due to the Covid 19 pandemic. Also opening up temporary relaxation on Visa work rights and extra funding for international students whose studies are affected.

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Universities are shutting down and a-lot of practical courses will be severely affected by this. This especially concerns the delay of assessments and graduations for international students especially. International students should have their Visas automatically extended indefinitely to help them cope with the issues surrounding Covid 19.

Can we agree that it’s the right thing to do to ease what is already an awful situation and help those studying out.

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Government responded

This response was given on 28 April 2020

Any student whose visa expires before 31 May can contact the Coronavirus Immigration Team to get their visa extended until 31 May. This will be reviewed before 31 May.

Read the response in full

Covid-19 represents a significant challenge to the UK, we are working to mitigate the risks the current outbreak represents to our country and to individuals. The Home Office is working to ensure no international students are unfairly penalised, in relation to immigration matters, due to current events which are beyond their control. All the exceptional measures detailed below will be in place initially until 31 May, and will be kept under review.

All international students whose leave expires before 31 May or has already expired since the beginning of the Covid-19 outbreak, can get their leave extended to 31 May, by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Team at the following email address: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk. Students need to provide their full name, date of birth, nationality, existing visa details and all emails must be in English. The situation will be reviewed before 31 May. Students who have been unable to travel due to Covid-19, will not be considered to be overstayers due to circumstances outside their control.

We have also announced other exceptional arrangements to assist students and the education sector during this difficult period. Students who would otherwise be required to leave the country to apply for a further course of study, can now exceptionally apply to switch onto a further course of study from within the UK if their leave is due to expire before 31 May. This includes short-term students and migrants currently on visit visas. Students can exceptionally extend in country, provided they meet the visa requirements under Tier 4 and can commence a new course of study from the date of application.

Students, regardless of the level of study undertaken, are currently able to study via distance learning, rather than attending in person. Under usual circumstances, distance learning wouldn’t be permitted within the Tier 4 rules, however under current circumstances, studying remotely is permitted. Students studying courses below degree level are not required to undertake the 15 hours per week of classroom-based study which is normally required for a course to be considered full-time, if the sponsor is unable to provide this level of tuition.

Sponsors do not need to report students who are currently unable to study due to Coronavirus for non-attendance and students can defer their studies for a period exceeding 60 days without sponsors withdrawing them from the course. Students who are unable to complete their course within the length of their visa will be able to apply for visa extensions and will be exempt from the academic progression requirements usually associated with applications for a visa extension.

The 20 hours work per week restriction has been temporarily relaxed for students working within the NHS, to enable those students who wish to assist to do so. Students who are employed or volunteering with an NHS trust can work without restriction on the number of hours worked per week.

Any student whose sponsor has suspended all study will also be able to work full-time. These students will be considered to be in ‘vacation time’ and as such the restrictions on the hours they can work is lifted. Students who are continuing to study via distance learning, will continue to be limited to 20 hours work per week during term-time.

We are closely monitoring the situation and may announce further exceptions if needed depending on how the situation evolves. All measures which have been introduced will be kept under review and further measures will be introduced if necessary. The Government believes this approach strikes the right balance to deal with the situation, rather than extending visas indefinitely to deal with a temporary set of circumstances.

Full details of the current exceptions that have been put in place can be found at the GOV.UK page below, this page is updated regularly to ensure that the information is up to date and reflects all of the temporary exemptions that have been made:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-covid-19-advice-for-uk-visa-applicants-and-temporary-uk-residents.

Home Office

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