Updated guidance released by the Home Office for long residence ILR applicants

10 Jul 2024, 30 mins ago

On 9 July 2024, the Home Office released updated policy guidance on the rules for qualifying for indefinite leave to remain in the UK (ILR) based on 10 years’ lawful and continuous residence. In particular, the guidance has clarified transitional arrangements following a change in the law this April.

The Long Residence route allows individuals who have resided lawfully in the UK for a continuous period of ten years or more to apply for ILR. Most often, this route to settlement will be considered by students who arrived in the UK during their early years.

Prior to updates to the Immigration Rules on 11 April 2024, applicants under the Long Residence route would have to satisfy the Home Office that their total absences from the UK during the relevant ten-year period prior to ILR submission did not exceed 548 days.

On 11 April 2024, the law concerning Long Residence ILR applications changed, with the Home Office updating the way in which absences are to be considered. That initial drafting was unclear, however, on whether the 548-day limit had been entirely removed or not.

The guidance released yesterday confirms that the 548-day limit has not disappeared, and transitional arrangements are now in place. For an applicant whose ten-year period comprises time before and after 11 April 2024, the total absences incurred before 11 April 2024 must still not exceed 548 days (and more than 184 days at any one time). Absences incurred from 11 April 2024 will be assessed on a rolling basis and cannot exceed 180 days in any 12-month period.

Given the highly technical nature of the Long Residence route, applicants continue to be advised to keep proper records of their absences from the UK and to seek advice on their particular circumstances.

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