It’s been almost a year since coronavirus spread across the world and changed the way we each have to live our lives. In line with the continuous updates to the Government’s advice and rules, the Home Office also provides frequent and constantly changing guidance for non-residents of the UK. On 11 January 2021 the Home Office published guidance for the new Covid Visa Concession Scheme. The Covid Visa Concession Scheme (or CVCS) is for a migrant who is overseas and unable to return to the UK due to Covid-19 travel restrictions and who had existing leave when they left the UK which has expired or is about to expire before they can return to the UK.
What is the Covid Visa Concession Scheme?
Migrants who were in the UK on a temporary basis (i.e as Visitors) are not eligible for the Covid Visa Concession. However, other routes eligible for the CVCS are all those where, if the migrant was in the UK with their previous leave, they would be able to apply for leave to remain in the route they now want to apply for:
- by extending their leave;
- by switching into a different route; or
- applying for indefinite leave to remain.
Who can apply for the Covid Visa Concession Scheme?
Only migrants who left the UK before 17 March 2020 when Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel guidance changed and who had, or are seeking to apply for, leave on an eligible route may apply under the Covid Visa Concession Scheme. In addition to being overseas, all of the following eligibility requirements must be satisfied:
- migrant 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, no 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.
In exceptional circumstances, the Home Office may also accept migrants under the Scheme if that person left the UK after Foreign and Commonwealth Office travel advice changed on 17 March 2020 for compelling or compassionate reasons which include, but are not limited to serious illness or death of a close relative overseas or travel for the purpose of receiving medical treatment.
What is the impact on the continuous residence requirement for indefinite leave to remain applications?
In most usual circumstances where the migrant’s leave has expired whilst they have been outside the UK and are unable to return to the UK, it could also mean that they have broken a continuous leave requirement. This could mean that they do not qualify for indefinite leave to remain or face a longer period before they can qualify.
The Immigration Rules Appendix Continuous Residence states that absence from the UK as a result of a coronavirus will not count as a break in continuous residence. This Appendix only applies to the following routes as there is already a provision for family and private life applications: In some circumstances, where the person’s leave has expired whilst they have been abroad and unable to return to the UK, it could also mean that they have broken a continuous leave requirement and may either not be able to qualify for ILR or face a longer period before they can qualify.
- Skilled Work;
- Representative of an Overseas Business;
- Global Talent;
- T2 Minister of Religion and T2 Sportsperson;
- UK Ancestry;
- Hong Kong British National (Overseas); and
- ECAA Extension of Stay.
Can I still see an immigration lawyer given the Covid-19 Pandemic?
Yes. We are a technologically advanced law firm and are well equipped for the current situation and have the resources and infrastructure to support you with any UK immigration issue.
The well-being of our team and our clients is our priority. We are following the advice to maintain social distancing; therefore we will hold all meetings with clients via video conferencing or via our telephone conferencing facilities for the foreseeable future. Please contact our Immigration Team to arrange a consultation with us so we can assess your case in more detail and give you advice specific to your individual circumstances.
Using our Immigration Solicitors in London for Immigration advice during the Covid-19 Pandemic
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative in order to advise on a UK Visa and Immigration application.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.
This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful UK visa applications using our Immigration Solicitors in London during Covid-19
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department.
We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to speak with one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.