COVID -19 update

Decided to do these once a day, each morning, unless dramatic news arrives!

Visa extensions

Visa nationals who cannot return home due to the COVID-19 pandemic will be able to extend their visa.

The extension, announced today (24 March) by the Home Secretary Priti Patel, will apply to anyone whose leave expired after the 24 January and who cannot leave the country because of travel restrictions or self-isolation.

This will last until 31 May but will be kept under regular review in case further extensions are needed.

A dedicated COVID-19 immigration team has been set up within UKVI to make the process as straightforward as possible. Anyone in this situation just needs to contact this team, via this email address CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk, to let them know their visa has expired and they will be issued with an extension.

Prison visits cancelled

  • Prisons across the estate to receive 900 secure phone handsets as visits cancelled
  • Part of plans to maintain family contact during COVID-19 outbreak – ensuring stability in jails
  • All calls monitored and restricted

This is to ensure prisons are complying with social distancing rules and to protect staff and prisoners.

In recognition of the importance of continued contact with family and to ensure stability in our jails the Government has moved quickly to keep prisoners in touch with their family members by other means.

Secure phone handsets will be given to prisoners at 55 jails. This will enable the approved use of 900 locked SIM card handsets, allowing risk-assessed prisoners to speak to a small number of pre-authorised contacts. The phones will not have internet access.

Strict measures will ensure the phones are not misused with calls being time-limited and monitored closely. Additionally, handsets will include measures to prevent non-secure SIM cards being used.

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