My wife intends to apply for UK Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in Sep 2024 (10-year long residence route). However, there has been a recent big break in her stay in the UK due to personal & pandemic reasons.
She departed UK on 05 Feb 2020 to home country, India, to spend time with family due to miscarriage after fertility treatment. She intended to return to the UK after 59 days around early April 2020.
Quite unexpectedly, both India & UK went into pandemic lockdowns in Mar 2020. India has since suspended all scheduled international passenger flights indefinitely. Since Aug 2020, India has been running a repatriation flight program over several phases, but is not intended as a form of regular/scheduled passenger flight.
As for me, I was stuck in the UK since Feb 05, 2020 & could travel to India only in Nov 2020. I intended to spend 3-4 months in India, spending time with elderly family there. In April 2021, India was put on the UK's red list, and both my wife & I scrambled back somehow to return to the UK on May 09, 2021.
So, there exists a single-trip absence of 459 days. As per UKVI rules, in normal circumstances, this breaks the continuous residence requirements for the 10-year LR route (wherein a single absence should not exceed 180 days).
However, I infer some possible exemptions through clauses CR2.3 (b) & (c) of the UKVI immigration rules: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/immigration-rules/immigration-rules-appendix-continuous-residence
Will UKVI allow a concession for this specific situation? We have the NHS doctor's note for the miscarriage & fertility treatment, while pandemic-related travel disruptions are well known (and I presume no additional documentation is required).