The Immigration Rules provide a route for those aged 18 – 24, who have lived in the UK for at least half of their life, to apply to regulate their status. If successful, they would usually be granted leave to remain in the UK for two and a half years and placed on a 10-year route to settlement. This meant making three further applications, each resulting in a further 2 and a half years of stay, to reach 10 years of lawful residence to qualify for indefinite leave to remain (settlement).
Many other immigration routes only require a 5-year probationary period before being considered for indefinite leave to remain (“ILR”). However, prior non-compliance of immigration laws in many private life applications had resulted in a longer timeframe being set for this category of applicants, in favour of public interest.
On 20th October 2021, a concession was introduced to reduce the qualifying time for settlement in this category. Now, some individuals who have been granted leave to remain under this route, may be able to settle after only 5 years with leave to remain.
Why has the immigration settlement concession been introduced?
The concession recognises that a 10-year probation period may be disproportionate for these young adults, who have integrated into society. This includes those who were born in the UK, or entered as a child, as they are not always responsible for previous non-compliance. The Home Office has therefore accepted that there is a lesser public interest in upholding the extended probation period in some cases and now permits applicants to request ‘early ILR’.
Who can qualify for early settlement in the UK?
To be considered for early settlement, an applicant must meet all of the following edibility criteria, at the date of application.
- Be aged 18 – 24 and have spent at least half of their life living continuously in the UK (excluding any period of imprisonment);Have been born in or entered the UK as a child;
- Have held limited leave to remain for 5 years; and
- Be eligible for further leave to remain under the private life route to settlement and have made an application on this basis.
Meeting the eligibility criteria does not however guarantee a grant of indefinite leave to remain. The Home Office will consider the facts of each case. Factors taken into consideration include, but are not limited to:
- Age of arrival in the UK
- Length of residence in the UK
- Strength of connections and level of integration
- Reasons for non-compliance and unlawful residence in the past, including whether it was on the part of the applicant or their parent/guardian whilst they were under the age of 18
- Efforts made to engage with the Home Office and regularise status
- Any leave currently held and length of continuous lawful leave
- Any period of continuous leave held in the past
- Whether (and the extent to which) limited leave to remain will have a detrimental impact on their health or welfare.
If you are unsure whether you will qualify for early settlement, we can help consider the merit of your case. Please contact one of our immigration solicitors on 020 7205 2115. Alternatively, please complete the online form to request a call back.
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