It is currently possible to apply for 30 months leave on the basis of the Private life you have established in the UK.
From 20/6/22, it will still be possible to apply on the same private life grounds. These are:
- be a child resident in the UK for at least seven years who can’t reasonably be expected to leave (seven-year children)
- be aged 18 to 24 and resident here for at least half their life in the UK (young adults)
- be resident here for more than 20 years
- face very significant obstacles to integration in their country of return
Until now, successful applicants have been granted 30 months’ permission to stay. Repeat applications have to be made every two and a half years before you become eligible to apply for indefinite leave.
The good news is that the new rules allow young adults and seven-year children to choose whether to apply for 30 months’ or 60 months’ permission; the only difference expected will be the application fee. Previously, applicants had to complete ten years on the private life route before they could get ILR. It will now be possible for a child who was born in the UK to apply for ILR immediately after spending the first seven years of their life here provided they can show that it would not be reasonable to expect them to leave the UK. For seven-year children who weren’t born in the UK, there is a new accelerated route enabling them to get ILR after five years’ leave instead of ten. The same applies to young adults. Everyone else on the private life route still needs to complete ten years after being granted permission before they can get ILR.
New, stricter, suitability requirements have also been introduced. A prison sentence of at least 12 months now prevents a person from ever getting ILR on the private life route (previously they could do so if 15 years had passed since the end of the sentence). People in this position will have to make endless extensions if they wish to remain in the UK.
A prison sentence of less than 12 months prevents a grant of ILR for the first five years after the sentence is completed. It also disqualifies a child or young adult from obtaining ILR on the accelerated five-year route. The same applies where the applicant has been involved in a sham marriage or civil partnership, practised deception or breached conditions, or where they have an outstanding litigation or NHS debt.
A new “continuous residence requirement” has been introduced for applications for ILR as a partner or parent on the ten-year route. Where previously there was no need for applicants to have spent a certain amount of time physically in the UK, now they are limited to a maximum of 180 days’ absence in any 12-month period. There will be some exception for absences due to work, study, or supporting family overseas as long as the UK remains the applicant’s place of permanent residence and they maintain a family life here. Other exceptions include time spent out of the UK due to a pandemic or life-threatening illness for example. Additionally, absences pre-dating the new appendix will be disregarded if they were followed by a grant of permission on private or family life grounds.
As mentioned above, applicants can now combine periods of permission in different private and family routes (including Appendix FM) in order to reach the requisite ten-year period for settlement: see paragraph SETF 11.6. They also face tougher suitability requirements, as summarised above.
If you wish to discuss an immigration application, we offer an initial free consultation. Please call our Immigration Solicitor Louise Koch on 0116 242 1120.