16 Mar 2017, 31 mins ago

The 28-day period within which an out-of-time further leave to remain application could have been made is abolished from 24th November 2016.

Prior to 24th November 2016, the Immigration Rules allowed for someone whose leave had expired, to submit an application for further leave to remain within 28 days of expiry of their leave. Following the change announced on 3rd November 2016, the out of time application will be considered only if it was made within 14 days of the expiry of the applicant’s leave and if the Secretary of State considers that there is a good reason beyond the control of the applicant or their representative (to be detailed in or with the application) why an in time application could not be made. There is no definition of “good reason” and so, it seems, this will be down to interpretation by the caseworker in all cases presenting before them. Caseworkers may expect some guidance around this.

The Home Office explained the need for the change as follows: “This 28 day period was originally brought in so that people who had made an innocent mistake were not penalised, but retaining it sends a message which is inconsistent with the need to ensure compliance with the United Kingdom’s immigration laws”. Therefore the decision was made to abolish the 28-day grace period.

Changes have also been made so that people who used the 28-day grace period in the past will still be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain on the basis of continuous lawful residence. Any period of overstaying up to 28 days before 24th November 2016 will be disregarded, after this date only the period of overstaying up to 14 days will be disregarded.