The Coronavirus Extension Concession (CEC) and the Exceptional Assurance Concession

17 Apr 2024, 10 mins ago

The Coronavirus Extension Concession and the Exceptional Assurance Concession represent significant strides in addressing the challenges posed by the COVID-19 pandemic on UK immigration. These concessions provide much-needed relief and clarity for individuals and businesses navigating the complex landscape of UK immigration rules during these unprecedented times.

At the peak of the COVID-19 pandemic, global travel restrictions and self-isolation measures left many individuals stranded in the UK with expired permissions. To address these unprecedented circumstances, the Home Office implemented the Coronavirus Extension Concession (CEC) and later introduced the Exceptional Assurance Concession.

The Coronavirus Extension Concession (CEC):

  • Automatically extended permissions for individuals in the UK with leave expiring between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020.
  • Operated outside of the Immigration Rules, offering discretion to the Home Secretary to extend leave in exceptional circumstances.
  • Granted a grace period from 1 to 31 August 2020 allowing affected individuals sufficient time to make arrangements to leave the UK without facing penalties.

The Exceptional Assurance Concession:

  • Was introduced from 1 September 2020 to 28 February 2023 to address ongoing international travel disruptions.
  • Provided short-term protection against adverse circumstances for individuals unable to leave the UK due to COVID-19.
  • Was granted upon a successful request to the Home Office’s Coronavirus Immigration Team (CIT) via email.
  • Offered a ten-week assurance for individuals facing travel restrictions and a two-week assurance for those with coronavirus symptoms to recover, allowing them time to leave the UK.

Policy Implications:

  • Overstaying during the specified periods covered by the concessions will be disregarded, ensuring that affected individuals do not face penalties or adverse consequences.
  • Continuous residence remains intact, acknowledging time spent in the UK during the grace and assurance periods for subsequent settlement applications.
  • Paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules was amended to reflect these concessions, providing clarity and reassurance to individuals navigating the immigration process amidst the pandemic.
  • However, time in the UK with exceptional assurance does not count towards the qualifying period for settlement as it is not a grant of permission.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have any questions arising from this blog, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail or, alternatively, follow us on XFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

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