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Can I apply for indefinite leave to remain as a Skilled Worker?

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

If you have been working and living in the UK as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant and/or Skilled Worker in the past 5 years,

and you have spent no more than 180 days outside the UK per 12-month period during the last 5 years (with absences assessed on a rolling basis for leave granted on or after 11 January 2018), then you may be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’).

If you are a Skilled Worker and have been residing in the UK as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant or Skilled Worker for less than 5 years, you will need to make an application to extend your leave until you have completed a continuous 5 year-period in the UK as a Skilled Worker.

What are the advantages?

Permanent residence, also known as Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’), gives you the right to stay in the UK indefinitely and gives you the freedom to work or study in the UK without restrictions. ILR is a necessary condition for obtaining a British passport, because applicants must have been free from immigration restrictions before applying to naturalise as British citizens (this will be for a minimum period of 12 months where the applicant is not married to an existing British citizen at the date of the naturalisation application).

What are the eligibility requirements?

As a Skilled Worker, you can apply for ILR after 5 years of continuous legal residence as a Tier 2 (General) Migrant and/or Skilled Worker in the UK. You may also combine previous periods of residence in other visa categories such as the Global Talent, Innovator and Representative of an Overseas Business categories and as a Tier 1 Migrant (other than as a Tier 1 (Graduate) Entrepreneur) and count this towards the 5 years of continuous residence.

Before applying for ILR as a Skilled Worker, you will need to comply with a number of requirements. An important requirement to note is that your sponsoring employer must still have a valid Sponsor Licence at the time of your ILR application decision. They must also certify in writing that they require your employment to continue with them for the foreseeable future and that your salary will continue to be paid for the foreseeable future.

Additionally, you will need to pass the Life in the UK Test. The application for settlement used to have an English language requirement, however, this has been removed as the Home Office have recognised that applicants would have needed to meet the English language requirements as part of a previous application for Skilled Worker/Tier 2 (General) leave.

What are the salary requirements?

The general rule is that your gross annual salary should be at least £25,600 and should meet or exceed the going rate for your occupation code. There are exceptions where you are sponsored for a job that is on the shortage occupation list, or on the health or education list. If this is the case, your gross annual salary must be at least £20,480, and should meet or exceed the going rate for your occupation code.

What are the processing times?

If applying for ILR as a Skilled Worker, the Home Office will aim to make a decision on your application within 6 months. There are priority services available for a quicker decision, however, this is subject to availability.

Should you need expert advice and assistance in relation to an application under the Skilled Worker route, please do not hesitate to contact our corporate immigration team, send us an e-mail, or alternatively,follow us on Twitter to stay up to date.


The information in these blogs 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 these blogs. For formal advice on the current law please don’t 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 2021

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