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Statistics relating to COVID-19 and the immigration system, May 2020

29 May 2020 Grace McGill Blog

The COVID-19 pandemic has had a significant impact on the UK immigration system, both in terms of restricting migrant movements to and from the UK and the impact on operational capacity. The Home Office have released a report giving an overview of the key trends affecting the UK immigration system, following the outbreak of COVID-19 in the UK in March and April 2020. This is a one-off release derived from Home Office management information.

Entry clearance visas

  • Visa applications, and decisions have fallen across all types of visa since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the beginning of restrictions in the UK. The falls have resulted from visa application centres being closed by the end of March. Since then, very few applications or decisions have been recorded, although some case working continues to take place.
  • The total number of visa applications began to fall in March 2020, with around 129,000 applications, less than half the number in March 2019 (281,000). However, falls in applications from Chinese nationals began at the start of 2020 following the COVID-19 outbreak in China. In January and February 2020, Chinese nationals accounted for 8% of all visa applications, down from 18% over the same period in 2019. All other nationalities saw significant falls from March 2020, with only around 250 applications recorded in April 2020.
  • The number of decisions on visa applications also reduced in March 2020, when there were 145,000 decisions, 42% fewer than in March 2019 (248,000). April saw less than 100 decisions made on visa applications.

Extensions of leave

  • Since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the beginning of restrictions in the UK, the number of extensions granted has fallen. In April 2020 there were 77% fewer extensions granted than in April 2019. Prior to this, between January and March 2020, there were around 60,000 extensions, down slightly on the 63,000 seen in the same period in 2019.

EU Settlement Scheme

  • The latest data show that the Home Office received 67,300 applications in April 2020, 46% lower than the previous month, although this continues a downward trend since the UK left the European Union at the end of January 2020. By the end of April the EUSS had received more than 3.5 million applications.
  • There were 73,000 applications concluded in April 2020, 51% lower than in March 2020. Applications have continued to be processed during the COVID-19 pandemic. However, in order to adhere to PHE advice, the Home Office has enacted plans to move to a remote case working model for the EUSS.

Source and further reading see: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/887808/statistics-relating-to-covid-19-and-the-immigration-system-may-2020.pdf

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