UK Immigration Impact of COVID-19 (Update)

The UK is intensifying its internal control measures on social distancing, restricting movement and in other areas to combat the spread of Corona-virus. The pandemic itself and control measures against it are impacting UK immigration matters as well as global immigration authorities and policies. Individual companies including Santa Fe UK and their employees are affected by this, as governments and other bodies react to the changing situation and advice.

The UK is moving towards a ‘lock-down’ style response, particularly in London. In addition, schools have been told to close and only children of key workers, as defined by the government, will be attending and public transport services are also being reduced. This may affect sponsor employers’ in reporting absences as well as business transactions in general.

The FCO legalisation office has also removed the priority service from its offering for the time being.

Who will be affected?

  • Company employees on Tier 2, 4 or 5 visas and their sponsors.
  • Clients requiring legalisation of documents by the FCO.


  • As the UK government introduces stricter guidance and controls on companies, schools and the public to stay at home and avoid social contact, some sponsored migrants may be prevented from attending their studies or employment by observing these guidelines due to illness, self-isolation, or avoiding travel.
  • Service providers, private companies and public offices may experience staff shortages due to self-isolation measures, illness, or transport disruption.


  • Sponsors do not need to report student or employee absences related to corona-virus which they have authorised.
  • Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship if they consider there are exceptional circumstances when:
  • a student will be unable to attend for more than 60 days.
  • an employee is absent from work without pay for four weeks or more.
  • Clients requiring an FCO apostille on a document will notice the processing time is now the Standard 2-working day turnaround in all cases as Priority Service has been temporarily stood down.


  • The measures described above are in effect already.

Next Steps (or) Actions Required:

  • If you have any concerns or questions about how to remain compliant with your duties as a sponsor, please consult with the Santa Fe Immigration team.

Santa Fe Analysis:

  • Santa Fe UK has adopted a work from home policy for our staff in the interests of public health and staff safety. This should not significantly impact our service capacity for routine caseload handling, however we advise any client requiring service, particularly consular services, to check in advance via us on the service capacity offered by national consulate in question.
  • As the situation is evolving and ever-changing, and subject to great variation in policy from one national government to another, Santa Fe UK will be happy to assist any client in verifying or investigating individual queries relating to accessing consular services of other countries within the UK. However we notify our clients that there may be delays in doing so as consulates may take action without prior notice.

Should you have any questions, please contact the following:

Koshi Blavo Barna
UK Head of Immigration
Santa Fe Relocation UK
Tel.: +44 0203 457 3595

To read more immigration updates, click

About our Immigration Services

Our immigration services manage thousands of visa applications every year for a multitude of international companies. Our experienced immigration experts and migration agents handle the immigration process for you and provide simple reporting and guidance on immigration matters.

About us

Santa Fe Relocation is a Global Mobility company specialising in managing and delivering high-quality relocation services worldwide. Our core competence is providing services that help corporations and their employees as well as individuals and their families to relocate and settle in new places. These services are delivered to a consistently high standard, locally and globally, and managed through our own operations around the world. For more information, visit us at

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