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Private Life Early ILR Concession

There is hope for some applicants presently on the 10-year route to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) under the Private Life rules. The Home Office has introduced a concession whereby applicants who entered the UK as children may be able to settle after 5 years’ continuous leave rather than 10.

The Home Office considers that, unless there are exceptional reasons, the normal expectation is that individuals should serve a probationary period of limited leave before being eligible to apply for ILR. For those given permission to stay on the basis of having established a private life in the UK, this will mean a 10-year route to settlement.

The idea behind the 10-year route to ILR is that it acts as an incentive to encourage compliance with the Immigration Rules and so that individuals who are not compliant do not receive the same benefits in terms of costs and the length of the probationary period. However, it is now accepted that, absent discretion, the 10-year route can be disproportionate in its application, particularly for adults in the 18-25 category and for those who are born in the UK and require permission to stay. The Home Office will now consider applying discretion in such cases meaning that ILR is both possible and appropriate after 5 years instead of 10.

To qualify for ILR after 5 years instead of 10, an applicant must:

(i)               be over 18 and under 25 years of age and have spent half their life in the UK;

(ii)              have been born in the UK or entered as a child;

(iii)            have held 5 years leave to remain; and

(iv)            qualify for a further extension of stay under the Private Life rules.

The Home Office will then consider whether discretion is appropriate to grant ILR after 5 years instead of 10. Amongst the factors that could be potentially relevant to the consideration process are:

  • the applicant’s age on arrival in the UK;
  • how long they have lived here;
  • their strength of connections to the UK and their degree of integration;
  • whether or not the applicant is responsible for any periods of unlawful residence in the UK, i.e. previous non-compliance with immigration requirements was not of the applicant’s choice because their overstaying was as a child or young adult under the age of 25;
  • any attempts to regularise their right of residence in the past;
  • any periods of lawful residence in the UK, particularly in relation as a fraction of the overall duration of stay; and
  • any potential impacts on the applicant’s health and welfare.

This welcome concession will be transformative for some young people born and/or raised in the UK.

If you are potentially affected by the change and would like our assistance with your immigration matters, please get in touch.

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