13 Jan COVID-19 Concession Scheme explained
On 11 January 2021, the Home Office published a new COVID Visa Concession Scheme (CVCS) guidance.
This concession scheme only applies to those who left the UK prior to 17 March 2020, however, due to the COVID-19 global travel restrictions, they have been unable to return to the UK to make an application for Leave to Remain (LTR) or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) before the expiry of their current leave. To be noted that those who were in the UK holding a Standard Visitor visa are not eligible for this concession.
The Home Office agrees that those who have been affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions should not be penalised for circumstances out of their control. For instance, in some situations, if a migrant’s leave expired whilst abroad and unable to return to the UK, they might not be able to qualify for ILR application or face a longer period before they can qualify. However, under paragraph CR2.3. (b) of Appendix Continuous Residence:
‘When calculating the 180 days in CR 2.1. or CR 2.2. any period spent outside the UK will not count towards the 180-day limit if the absence was for any of the following reasons:
(b) travel disruption due to natural disaster, military conflict or pandemic;’
This means that if a migrant spent more than 180 days outside of the UK during any consecutive 12-month period due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the excessive absence will not be treated as ‘break the continuous residence’ requirement.
Migrants will be granted a single entry 3-month entry clearance in order to enter the UK and submit their LTR or ILR application under the CVCS, if they meet the following requirements:
- They left the UK before 17 March 2020;
- Their leave expired and they were unable to return to the UK before its expiry due to COVID-19 travel restrictions;
- They intend to return to the UK once confirmation they are eligible is given by UKVI, not less than 21 calendar days’ notice of their date of travel, unless either: they cannot travel because travel restrictions remain in place, or they choose not to travel due to a COVID-19 risk to themselves or their family, for example, showing symptoms, a requirement to self-isolate or being high-risk and unable to travel.
Those who have left the UK after 17 March 2020, may qualify the CVCS if they are under the exceptional circumstances, for example: they have serious illness or death of a close relative overseas, or they travel for the purpose of receiving medical treatment.
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