Five Tips On Applying For Indefinite Leave To Remain In The UK
After many years of residing in the UK, building up a career, perhaps having a family and becoming an active member of your local community, it is only natural that you would want to formalise your right to live in Britain by applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
The application process for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) differs across the various visa types. For example, both Tier 1 (entrepreneur) and Tier 1 (investor) Visas provide holders with the opportunity to apply for accelerated leave to remain, depending on the amount they have invested or the number of jobs they have created for ‘settled’ people.
For the purposes of simplicity, this article will concentrate on applying for ILR if you currently hold a Tier 2 (General) Visa. If you wish to receive any information regarding obtaining permanent settlement under another visa route, you can contact one of our Immigration solicitors who will provide you with the best legal advice available.
Make sure you are being paid enough
From 6th April 2016 those applying for ILR under a Tier 2 visa must be earning a salary of £35,000 or more to be successful in their application. This will increase to £35,500 by April 2018, again in April 2019 to £35,800 and to £36,200 by 2020.
These new rules will apply to anyone who entered or switched into Tier 2 of the Points-Based System under the rules in force from 6th April 2011 and who will therefore be eligible to make an ILR application in this category from April 2016. The ILR pay threshold of £35,000 will not apply to those who entered Tier 2 under the rules in force prior to 6th April 2011. Jobs currently on the Shortage Occupation List are exempt as are nurses (for the time being).
Spend enough time in the country
To be granted permanent settlement you must have spent five years residing lawfully in the UK and meet the ‘unbroken leave’ criteria.
Unbroken leave means you must not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any of the five years required to be eligible for settlement. Policy guidelines issued on 19th November 2015 state:
If you have been outside the United Kingdom for more than 180 days in 12 months, this will break the continuous period and you will need to start the qualifying period for settlement again.
If you are unsure about whether you meet the continuous residency requirements, an experienced Immigration lawyer will be able to give you the best advice.
Mind your language
You will be required to pass an English language test before being granted ILR unless you are from a country where the common language is English, (for example America, New Zealand or Jamaica).
The test must be undertaken at a test facility approved as a Secure English Language Test (SELT) centre and the provider must be approved under Appendix O of the Immigration Rules.
Know about life in the UK
Applicants for ILR must also pass the Life in the UK test. This is a multiple choice test, taken on a computer and lasts 45 minutes. The questions are based on the Life in the United Kingdom: a Guide for New Residents handbook, which is available from the Stationery Office website and bookshops.
There are over 60 test centres in the UK and applicants need to book their test online via the Life in the UK section of the GOV.UK website at least seven days in advance. Applicants can only book tests at the five test centres closest to their home. The website also provides guidance on preparation for the test.
Use the best Immigration solicitor possible
The UK Home Office is continuously tightening the rules on allowing those holding a Tier 2 (General) Visa to successfully acquire ILR. Therefore, it is imperative that you engage an experienced Immigration lawyer to provide you with the best legal advice when making your application. By doing so you will ensure that the application is submitted correctly with the right supporting documents included and that an opening for a grounds for appeal is available should your application be refused.
OTS Solicitors is one of the most respected Immigration law firms in London. Our business immigration team comprises of Teni Shahiean, Oshin Shahiean, Nagesh Jain and Dr Lusine Navasardyan all of whom would be happy to talk to you about applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
By making an appointment with one of our Immigration solicitors, you can be assured of receiving some of the best legal advice available in the UK today. You can read some of our outstanding reviews by some of our previous Indefinite Leave to Remain clients here.
If you wish to discuss any of the points raised in this blog, please phone our London office on 0203 959 9123.