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Immigration Rules (Temporary Concessions)

Volume 551: debated on Monday 15 October 2012

I am today announcing the introduction of concessions to the immigration rules for Syrian nationals lawfully in the UK.

In the light of the ongoing violent conflict occurring in Syria I have decided that the UK Border Agency should operate some discretion to enable Syrians legally in the UK to extend their stay here.

Syrians in the UK with valid leave (or leave which has expired within the last 28 days) will be able to apply to extend their stay, or switch into a different category from within the UK (with some restrictions) rather than being required to return home first. Those applying would need to meet the requirements of the relevant visa category, pay the appropriate fee, and adhere to the normal conditions of that category—no access to public funds, for example. If a required document is not accessible due to the civil unrest in Syria UKBA may apply its discretion and the requirement to provide that document may be waived where appropriate.

These concessions will remain in force for five months from today. The Government continue to monitor the situation in Syria closely in order to ensure our response is appropriate and that any emerging risks are addressed.