Foreign nationals who cannot return home because of the coronavirus pandemic will be able to extend their UK visas, the Home Secretary has announced.
Priti Patel said the measure was designed to give people “peace of mind” and to ensure that those working in “vital services” can continue their work.
The extension will apply to anyone whose leave expired after January 24 and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation.
It will last until May 31, but will be kept under regular review, the Home Office said.
The department is also temporarily expanding the in-country switching provisions to help those who want to apply for visas to stay in the UK long-term – meaning people can apply to switch visa routes while remaining in the country.
Ms Patel said: “The UK continues to put the health and wellbeing of people first and nobody will be punished for circumstances outside of their control.
“By extending people’s visas, we are giving people peace of mind and also ensuring that those in vital services can continue their work.”