The Covid-19 pandemic has, for obvious reasons, disrupted UK immigration very considerably. When the pandemic started migrants who were in the UK were in many cases unable to return to their home country when they wanted to or needed to.
To prevent such migrants becoming overstayers the Home Office introduced “exceptional assurance” measures. If a migrant can show that they cannot get back to their country (and they must provide evidence of this) they can apply to the Home Office for such assurance, and if the application is successful the Home Office will allow them to stay longer, legally. During this period the migrant will retain all the rights that their original visa granted them.
The Home Office states that such an extension of stay is not a “grant of leave”, which in a strict legal sense may be true – no visa is granted – but the effect is very similar.
In some cases migrants are in immigration categories where they are able to extend their leave (eg Student leave) or apply to switch visas (eg from a family visa to a working visa) and they have been issued with an exceptional assurance. In these cases the migrant may be able to make the application as normal, although their original visa will have expired, as long as the exceptional assurance period still pertains.
There are various other policies and concessions in this area: for example, in some cases previous overstaying will be forgiven even if there was no exceptional assurance granted.
If you have problems or issues in this area we are GSN Immigration will be able to advise and assist you.
OISC Level 3 Immigration Lawyer