Gherson LLP’s ‘Friday FAQs’ – Spending a Long Time Outside of the UK for Pre-settled Status and Skilled Worker Visa Holders

20 Oct 2023, 56 mins ago

This week our immigration specialists will assist with enquiries on spending long periods of time outside of the UK and the effect it may have on your immigration status:

  • I hold Pre-settled Status and I have spent over 2 years outside of the UK. Is my status still valid?
  • How long can I spend outside of the UK as a Skilled Worker visa holder?

Generally speaking, if you spend over two consecutive years outside of the UK, your Pre-settled Status will lapse. Although your absence may have been caused by very serious circumstances, such as illness, it is unlikely that your status can be recovered, as it would be very difficult to justify why you have been away from the UK for such a long consecutive period of time.

You may still be able to log into your EUSS portal, where it may appear as if your pre-settled status is valid. However, once you re-enter the UK you will be admitted as a visitor.

This means that you will not be able to enter the UK as someone with residence rights, i.e., you will be admitted to the UK as a visitor who is allowed to stay in the UK for up to six months and not as a holder of pre-settled status.

We can assist with discretionary applications. Please contact us for an initial consultation to assess your circumstances.

How long can I spend outside of the UK as a Skilled Worker visa holder?

First, you must determine if you intend to settle in the UK. If so, as a Skilled Worker you may apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) in the UK, subject to meeting a set of requirements, including the continuous residence requirement. To comply with the continuous residence requirement you must reside in the UK as a Skilled Worker for 5 years, and during this time you must not leave the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period.

If you do not wish to settle in the UK, the above rules may not be relevant to you. However, your UK employer has a duty to monitor your absences from work, and they have to keep a record of all your absences, including business trips, annual leave, sick leave, and unpaid leave. The arrangements you have in place with your immigration sponsor would determine how much time you can spend away from the office and outside of the UK.

As a general rule, if you take more than four weeks of unpaid leave in one year as a Skilled Worker, your UK employer may be required to terminate your sponsorship. If your employment ends, the Home Office will send you a curtailment letter to let you know that your visa will end in 60 days, or on the date of expiry, whichever is sooner. You may be able to switch into another visa category during this time, or you will have to leave the UK by the end of the specified period.

There are some exceptions to the above rules, which may apply depending on the particular circumstances of your case. Please contact us  for a detailed assessment of your circumstances.

How Gherson can assist

Gherson’s Immigration Team are highly experienced in advising on UK visa matters. If you have not found an answer to your question, or if you would like to talk to us about your specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us for advice, send us an e-mail, or, alternatively, follow us on TwitterFacebookInstagram, or LinkedIn to stay-up-to-date.

The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please do not hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.

©Gherson 2023