When can I apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain on a Turkish Business Persons Visa?
As London immigration solicitors we know that the story doesn’t end with your first visa and entry into the UK, whether that is on a Turkish business person’s visa, a Tier 2 (General) visa or start-up visa. What visa applicants want to know is whether their visa entry will lead to settlement in the UK and to Indefinite Leave to Remain and how long it will take. In this blog we look at settlement after entry into the UK on a Turkish business person visa or Ankara Agreement visa.
Turkish business visa solicitors
For advice on applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain on a Turkish business persons visa call the specialist Ankara Agreement Immigration solicitors at London based OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, Skype or telephone appointments.
When can an Ankara Agreement visa holder apply to settle in the UK?
The short answer to the question ‘’ When can an Ankara Agreement visa holder apply to settle in the UK? ‘’, based on current case law, is after five years.That advice is subject to the proviso that the Turkish business persons visa holder must meet the residence requirement and general eligibility criteria for Indefinite Leave to Remain on the five year route.
Some may question that information, and rightly so. That is because you may have been told, in the past, that you could apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain on an EC Association Agreement visa after four years and furthermore that you would not have to pay a fee to the Home Office or meet the English language requirement.
The Home Office used to allow those in the UK on Ankara Agreement visas to settle in the UK after four years but the Immigration Rules were changed. The Immigration Rule changes were challenged in court proceedings in a case called R (Alliance of Turkish Business People Ltd) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWCA Civ 553.
The Alliance of Turkish Business People court proceedings
The Court of Appeal has recently rejected the appeal by Turkish business owners challenging the change in Immigration Rules relating to settlement in the UK on a Turkish Ankara visa.
An alliance of self-employed Turkish business people brought the court proceedings arguing that their right to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after four years in the UK came from the Ankara Agreement treaty signed by the UK and Turkey and that the provisions could not be changed.
The Home Office case was that the Indefinite Leave to Remain rules for those in the UK on Turkish business persons visas were capable of change, notwithstanding the terms of the Ankara Agreement. The Home Office therefore said that those in the UK on Turkish Ankara visas should apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the standard five year settlement route for Indefinite Leave to Remain applicants.
An alliance of existing EC Association Agreement visa holders challenged the Home Office change in policy, arguing that it was unfair to change the UK settlement rules when they had secured Turkish business persons visas in the expectation that they would be able to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after four years in the UK.
In 2019 the high court said that Ankara Agreement visa holders had a legitimate expectation of getting Indefinite Leave to Remain under the four year rule but since it could be justified, the rules could be changed by the Home Office. The Alliance of Turkish Business People Ltd appealed the decision to the court of appeal and the Home Office cross appealed.
On the 28 April 2020, the court of appeal decision delivered a further blow to those in the UK on existing Ankara Agreement visas. The appeal court held that there was no legitimate expectation that the Home Office would not, at some point after the Ankara Agreement treaty, change the Immigration Rules on Indefinite Leave to Remain applications for holders of Turkish business visas. The court said that new restrictions are prohibited unless:
The restriction is justified by an overriding reason in the public interest and
The restriction is suitable to achieve the legitimate objective pursued and
The restriction does not go beyond what is necessary in order to attain it.
That ruling means that the Home Office can continue to require Turkish business visa holders to apply under the ILR five year route for Indefinite Leave to Remain rather than the far more flexible four year route.
The alliance of Turkish business owners could decide to seek permission to appeal to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, if you are a Turkish business persons visa holder then you can use Appendix ECAA and the five year route to Indefinite Leave to Remain but unlike the four year route you will need to:
Have lived in the UK for at least five years and meet the residence requirement
Pay the Home Office Indefinite Leave to Remain application fee (currently £2,389 per ILR applicant so nearly £10,000 in Home Office fees for a family of four)
Meet the English language requirements.
Ankara Agreement solicitors are being asked if Turkish business visa holders should delay applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain to see if an application is made to secure permission to appeal to the supreme court. Immigration solicitors say that advice will depend on individual circumstances but generally it is best to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as soon as you meet the Immigration Rules rather than delay in the hope that there will be a successful appeal to the Supreme Court.
Turkish Ankara Agreement visa solicitors
For specialist EC Association Agreement visa advice on applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or complete our online enquiry form. Appointments are available through video conference, Skype or telephone appointments.
Our business immigration solicitors have substantial expertise in securing ECAA Turkish business person visas and can guide you through the complex Immigration Rules and requirements and secure Indefinite Leave to Remain for you and your family members.
London based OTS Solicitors are recommended for business immigration law in the two leading UK law directories, The Legal 500 and Chambers Guide to the Legal Profession. For expert advice you can trust call OTS Solicitors on 0203 959 9123 or click here for a video conference, Skype or telephone appointment to discuss your Ankara Agreement business visa needs.