COVID-19 Work Abroad Update - United Kingdom

COVID-19 Work Abroad Update - United Kingdom (Updated 06/08/2020)

Please check HERE for the most recent guidance about the UK government’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and HERE for the most recent advice for those wishing to travel to the UK.

BUNAC programs in the UK including Intern in Britain are open.

If you would like to carry out an internship in the UK, you can either find your own internship or use a placement service to find an internship for you.

Once you have secured an eligible internship you can apply to the intern in Britain program for visa sponsorship. Once this is granted you can then apply for a visa and travel to the UK. Visa processing times vary and may be longer than usual.

Most UK Visa Application Centers (VACs) have resumed services where local restrictions allow. For more information about the status of VACs, including opening times in your country, check with:

  • TLS contact if you’re in Europe, Africa and parts of the Middle East

  • VFS global for all other countries

You should stay in close contact with your internship employer and be ready to adapt or delay your internship start date if required. You should also be sure you understand any changes to your employer’s regular operations that may have been introduced as a result of COVID-19. This might include some remote work or working in socially distanced environments.

You should also consider how you will financially support yourself while in the UK and how you might return to your home country if required.

Applying from within the UK:

BUNAC are temporarily able to accept applications from those currently in the UK with a current valid visa status*.

You may be able to start your internship after you submit your visa application, and before your visa is issued. In this circumstance if your visa is refused you will have to stop your internship and leave the UK immediately.

Those wishing to switch from Tier 4 – Tier 5 can apply from within the UK, but the internship you would like to carry out must directly relate to the degree you achieved while in the UK on a Tier 4 visa. Contact BUNAC if you would like further advice about this.

*This is subject to change without notice according to UK Visa and Immigration policy

Traveling to the UK

There are changes at the UK border because of coronavirus. Check what you need to do before you travel.

It is likely that you will need to have a 14-day quarantine plan in place after your arrival in the UK. Check out our London Self Isolation Accommodation Package here.

Check your own government's advice and your airline’s advice about traveling internationally. This will likely include carrying and using a face mask, disposable gloves, hand sanitizer, cleansing wipes and your own food and water.

Allow extra time for all stages of the journey and be as patient as you can with everyone you encounter as we all adapt to these new circumstances.

Life in the UK

While the UK has eased national lock-down conditions, and life slowly returns to normal there are certain things you should do while in the UK:

  • Regularly wash your hands
  • Use a face covering when in an enclosed space such as public transport or a shop.
  • Make space, and always remain at least 1 metre away from those outside your household.
  • If you experience Coronavirus symptoms you should get tested* and self-isolate for 10 days.
  • Monitor local lock-down status for your area of residence and comply with all local and national rules that may be imposed, including restriction of movement outside your home.

There are also certain things you should not do while in the UK, such as gather/socialize in large groups, or indoors. For further information about what you can and cannot do while in the UK read through these FAQs.

*COVID-19 testing and treatment is free and provided by the NHS. While you should have medical insurance as part of your program, it does not need to include COVID-19 cover to enable you to be treated while you are in the UK.

Currently in the UK on intern in Britain program

If you are currently in the UK on a BUNAC program and require any support, please do not hesitate to contact BUNAC to talk about your circumstances by emailing iib@bunac.org.uk.

If your visa expired between January 24th, and July 31st, and you applied for it to be extended to July 31st as you were unable to the leave the UK, it will have been automatically extended to August 31st to allow you enough time to plan to leave the UK or apply for another visa status. You must do one of these things by August 31st or you will no longer have legal status in the UK.

If you have concerns about how you will be able to travel back to your home country, please reference your home countries embassy website. For help with this please contact BUNAC.

You can also contact the UK Corona Virus Immigration Help Center directly if you have immigration queries that relate to coronavirus.

Previously issued a Certificate of sponsorship / picking up where you left off.

If you were previously issued a certificate of sponsorship by BUNAC but were not able to use it or travel to the UK due to the impact of COVID-19, and you would like to find out about re-applying, please contact BUNAC by emailing iib@bunac.org.uk.

If you did travel to the UK under BUNAC’s sponsorship but were not able to carry out your internship, or only partially carried out your internship due to the impact of COVID-19, you may re-apply with BUNAC to intern with the same employer again. Please contact BUNAC so we can review your case and advise how you can proceed.