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Coronavirus and the Free Movement website

Coronavirus and the Free Movement website

Business continues as normal at Free Movement. Our product is exclusively an online one, we are used to working remotely and we have contingency plans in place if a staff member is ill or needs to care for family members.

We will continue to bring you immigration news, comment and analysis on the main blog. We are always working in the background to bring you new courses and ebooks and to update old ones, and we will continue to do so. 

Coronavirus coverage

For a one stop shop for all major immigration law and practice changes due to the coronavirus, keep an eye on freemovement.org.uk/coronavirus. We will keep that page up to date, republish it when there is something new to add, and delete content from it that we know is out of date. We may publish some major updates as separate new blog posts as well as updating the main page.

Normally we would publish new developments as new, separate blog posts but we are concerned that search engine users may find information on Free Movement that has become out of date. If the stream of news becomes too complex for a single blog post, we’ll come up with another user-friendly solution.

Looking ahead

We expect a slow down in normal immigration business over the coming days, weeks and months. There will be fewer court and tribunal cases being heard and reported. Severe legal or practical restrictions on international travel will considerably reduce the volume of visa application work. It seems likely that immigration concessions will reduce the need for immigration applications to be made by foreign nationals already present in the UK.

The need to prioritise resources, the closure of schools and self isolation will reduce the productivity of civil servants and government as a whole. The Brexit transition period may well be extended and the deadline for applying under the EU Settlement Scheme may be pushed back. Routine changes to the Immigration Rules may slow and the introduction of the new post-Brexit immigration system may be delayed.

In the short and medium term, general measures will inevitably not cater for every situation that arises due to the coronavirus and some announcements or issues are higher priority than others for the government.

Some British citizens and family members may end up being stranded abroad or separated. The limitations on travel will have consequences for periods of absence when some foreign nationals come to apply for settlement or naturalisation in the future; some will have been trapped abroad or chosen to leave the UK to be with family members. Earnings will be affected and waivers for those applying for settlement under Appendix FM or Tier 2 will be needed.

All these groups and others will need imaginative and determined assistance. 

There is likely to be a stream of news about these concessions and how they work and we will stay on top of developments, providing our customary updates and analysis. 

Legal advice and representation via Seraphus

Legal services and representation by our partner, Seraphus Solicitors, will continue as normal. These services can be booked online via Free Movement and are delivered remotely. The team at Seraphus are used to working remotely with their clients: it is how they operate even in normal times.

If anyone has any questions regarding their immigration status during this period Seraphus will try to answer them via the online consultation service, which is available to book in 30 minute slots. A cost-effective we-check-and-you-send application service is also available as is full service remote representation with document upload facilities.

Colin Yeo

Immigration and asylum barrister, blogger, writer and consultant at Garden Court Chambers in London and founder and editor of the Free Movement immigration law website.

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