What is the COVID Visa Concession scheme?
The UK government has introduced a COVID Visa Concession scheme (CVC) which is aimed at those individuals who are outside of the UK and either had leave to remain or were seeking to apply to stay in the UK. The concession scheme applies to those who left the UK before 17th March 2020 and due to the pandemic, have been unable to return to the UK to make an application for leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain. This does not include visitors.
Break in continuous residency
Being eligible for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) usually requires that someone has remained in the UK for 5 years continuously, as well as other conditions. Usually, the immigration rules state that where there is a gap of more than 180 days in any 12-month period, this will cause a break in “continuous residency,” meaning an individual may not be eligible to apply for ILR.
According to Appendix continuous residency, under the CVC rules, absence from the UK due to the pandemic will not count as a break in continuous residency, meaning those eligible can apply for ILR through the CVC and not be penalised for extended time spent outside of the UK.
The following eligibility requirements are in place for the CVC:
- You left the UK before 17th March 2020
- Your leave expired whilst you were outside of the UK
- You were unable to return to the UK before expiry due to COVID-19
- You intend to return to the UK once it is confirmed by the UK government that you are able to do so
It must be noted that the CVC is not a guarantee that a leave to remain or indefinite leave to remain application will definitely be granted, your application needs to meet all the requirements.
The Home Office may consider exceptional circumstances for those who left the UK after 17th March 2020. This may include the following situations:
- serious illness or death of a close relative overseas
- travel for the purpose of receiving medical treatment
Should you have any queries regarding the above information or if you require assistance with your corporate, employment or immigration matter, please get in touch with a legal professional at Hudson McKenzie via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by telephone +44(0) 20 3318 5794.
The information provided does not amount to legal advice.