The Home office has recently announced an extra month grace period for migrants whose leave to remain in the UK expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. This further provision is mentioned in the Home Office guidance page: Coronavirus (COVID-19): advice for UK Visa applicants and temporary UK Residents. The update provides much sought-after information about the migrants who have been unable to leave the UK due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Previous guidance had clearly confirmed the extension till 31 July 2020 whose leave to remain expired after 21 January 2020 and could not return. However, the latest guidance is in response to the travel restrictions being lifted up globally where migrants will no longer be able to extend their leave to remain in the UK automatically. Therefore, all migrants are expected to take reasonable steps to leave the UK or make a valid application in order to remain in the UK.
The guidance referred to this period as a “grace period” whose leave to remain expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. This grace period will last until 31 August 2020. During this period, migrants will make necessary arrangements to leave the UK. As per The Home Office Guidance, the conditions associated with the expired leave will remain the same during the grace period. For instance, if the migrants are permitted to work, study, or rent accommodations, they can continue to do so until 31 August 2020.
The Guidance further states that the migrants who are planning to leave the UK during the grace period up until 31 August do not need to contact the Home Office.
If the migrants intend to leave the UK but unable to do so by 31 August 2020, they can seek “exceptional indemnity” i.e. additional time to remain in the UK by contacting the Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT). This indemnity does not grant the migrant a valid “leave to remain” in the UK but will act as short-term protection against the consequences of remaining in the UK after 31 August 2020.
Please note that the migrants need to provide valid reasons and evidence to confirm their inability to leave the UK by 31 August 2020. The solution will be provided to those qualifying migrants who do intend to leave the UK as soon as things get practicable.
Migrants intending to stay in the UK
The guidance has confirmed that the migrants need to identify appropriate routes to apply for the necessary leave to remain if they decide to stay in the UK. The Home Office concession allows migrants to make the applications within the UK where they would usually need to apply for a visa right from their respective home countries. The requirements of the immigration route must be met and the application fee must be paid. The migrants can take advantage of this concession before 31 August 2020.
Migrants whose leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020 will suffer no future immigration consequences if they haven’t made any application to regularise their stay. However, they must need to regularise their stay by 31 August 2020 or make reasonable arrangements to leave the UK.
Please note that the health workers and their families will be eligible to get a 1-year extension to visa for free because of coronavirus. This concession is only available to those migrants whose visa will expire between 31 March and 1 October 2020. They must be in an eligible profession working for the NHS or an independent healthcare provider.
Do you fall within one of the aforementioned categories and require expert advice regarding your visa condition or immigration route? Please discuss your circumstances in further detail with our team of experienced immigration solicitors. A Y & J Solicitors is a multi-award winning, 10+years experienced, recommended by Legal 500, a boutique UK Immigration Law Firm based in Central London.
Last updated: 4 August 2020
3 August 2020:
Most of the UK Visa Application Centres (VACs) have resumed their services.
30 July 2020:
The latest information for those whose visa or leave to remain expires before 31 August 2020.