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Immigration and asylum interviews exempt from English lockdown


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A blanket lockdown began today — in England; other jurisdictions are available — and runs for 28 days. During that time, people are not to leave home “without reasonable excuse”. The lockdown regulations include a list of things that automatically qualify as a reasonable excuse, although it is non-exhaustive so other excuses that are reasonable will also qualify.

The list of reasonable excuses is in regulation 6 of the Health Protection (Coronavirus, Restrictions) (England) (No. 4) Regulations 2020 (SI 2020 No. 1200). As I’ve already highlighted on our main coronavirus page, but wanted to pull out in case it’s a little hidden away, there is a specific exception for visas and asylum:

(4) Exception 2 is that it is reasonably necessary for [the person concerned] to leave or be outside [their] home…

(f) to access critical public services, including…

(iv) asylum and immigration services and interviews.

By contrast, the regulations enforcing Lockdown 1.0 in March did not explicitly say that asylum and immigration services were “critical public services”. They did include a separate exception for people to “fulfil a legal obligation, including attending court or satisfying bail conditions, or to participate in legal proceedings”, which appears again in the new regulations.

The Home Office has also updated its guidance to emphasise that “our in-country immigration services (UK Visa and Citizenship Application Services, Service and Support Centres and English Language Test centres) will remain open” this time around.

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CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney

CJ McKinney is a specialist on immigration law and policy. Formerly the editor of Free Movement, you will find a lot of articles by CJ here on this website! Twitter: @mckinneytweets.