03.08.2018 Retention Of Indefinite Leave Remain In The UK

03.08.2018 Retention Of Indefinite Leave Remain In The UK

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is the term for British settlement or permanent residency. Acquisition of ILR means that a person is no longer subject to immigration control and can live and work in the UK without restrictions on the length of their stay. ILR residents may apply for UK citizenship after a period of continuous residence.

The Benefits of Gaining Settlement Status in the UK:

  • You will enjoy unrestricted entry to the UK

  • You will be free to work within the UK without restriction

  • You may be eligible to apply for naturalisation (British citizenship) within a further qualifying period

However, if a person who has been granted ILR is absent from the UK for a prolonged period of time they may lose their settled status and may have to apply for an entry clearance in order to return to the UK to resume their residence here. Whilst the above will mainly depend on the length of the period of absence from the United Kingdom (usually 2 years and above), even a short absence from the country may lead to the revocation of the ILR if the person seeking to enter the country is not capable of showing that they genuinely intend to re-enter the UK for settlement purposes.

The Immigration Rules state that a settled person who has been absent from the UK for over 2 consecutive years will automatically lose their settled status in the UK. Exceptions apply to Commonwealth citizens who have been settled in the UK since 1 January 1973, permanent members of British Council, Home Office, Department for International Development, partners and children accompanying members of HM Forces overseas etc.

In a situation where an ILR status has been revoked due to an absence from the UK of 2 or more years, a person will be re-admitted to the UK if they make a successful application for entry clearance to the UK as a returning resident. The application must be submitted at a UK visa application centre in their country of residence overseas.

An applicant will also have to show strong ties to the UK, such as property, business or family connections. The Home Office, in making their decision as to the reinstatement of the settlement status, will also consider the length of the applicant’s original stay in the UK, the length of their absence from the country and their reasons for returning to the UK.

A person, who after they have been granted a settled status in the UK, has been absent from the country for less than 2 years will normally retain their ILR status and will not be required to apply for entry clearance as a returning resident. However, they will still have to meet certain requirements in order to be re-admitted to the UK.

Thus, even an absence from the UK for a couple of weeks may result in the indefinite leave being cancelled due to a change of circumstances, if the Border Immigration Force Officer is not satisfied that a person is returning to the UK with a view to settle and reside here permanently. 

If you require assistance with your ILR application or you need to reinstate your settlement status, please contact Svetlova LLP for expert advice.