COVID-19 EXPERT LEGAL INSIGHTS

COVID-19: Abrupt border closures raise legal issues for expatriates and travellers
- Nicolas Rollason quoted by IBA

23 April 2020

Nicolas Rollason, head of our immigration team and Secretary of the IBA Immigration and Law Committee, is quoted in an article by IBA on the legal issues that stranded tourists are now facing due to sudden border closures and the lack of law change and legislation from the UK in the midst of the  Coronavirus pandemic.

 

They haven't changed the laws in the UK - it's slightly unsatisfying. While the UK government has said that temporary visas are being automatically extended until 31 May 2020, people still need to request the extension be applied to them.

The other big issue is that these decisions have all been communicated via announcements and are absent any legislation to underpin them. It’s good that they are policy announcements, as they can be flexible, but it also leaves questions and is unsatisfactory."

We’re seeking urgent clarification from the Home Office on the furlough scheme, as there are lots of questions."

The UK doesn’t actually have an absolute obligation to repatriate its citizens. The Foreign and Commonwealth Office has been at pains to point out that UK nationals stuck overseas have no legal right to consular assistance… but wants to be seen to be helping at times of emergency. There is no legal obligation, but perhaps a moral one."

The full article from IBA can be read here: Covid-19: abrupt border closures raise legal issues for expatriates and travellers

About the author

Nick Rollason heads our immigration team and advises on all areas of UK immigration and nationality law. He has particular expertise in providing strategic advice to businesses on their global immigration needs. He is regularly consulted by the UK immigration authorities on proposed changes to the UK immigration rules and policy.

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