Coronavirus: UKVI working on short-term operational response

31 January 2020

I spoke to UKVI earlier this morning regarding the government response to a range of issues we are noting with Chinese students and the Coronavirus.

UKVI have confirmed they are working on a short-term operational response to issues related to the Coronavirus. They are developing a mechanism for students unable to return home to China because of travel restrictions to request leave outside the normal rules. We hope to have full guidance on this by the end of next week.

They will also include reassurances for students who travelled to China before the restrictions and are now unable to return to UK, that this will not be treated as an unexpected absence.

For now, UKVI wants to reassure us that they will not penalise students and sponsoring institutions for any breaches caused by Coronavirus travel restrictions.

UKVI account managers will also be receiving guidance to this effect.

If any student currently in the UK has a family member with them on a visit visa, and unable to return to China, members can also flag these with their UKVI account manager.

If the situation continues, and a long term solution is required, then the Home Office will implement a policy solution to the issue. In the meantime, members should continue to flag specific issues with UKCISA so we can share them with UKVI and the policy teams at the Home Office.

Anne Marie Graham
Chief Executive, UKCISA