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UK Long Residency, but for how long?

04 June 2010

Politicians often use immigration as a seasoned scapegoat particularly when the going gets tough and the economic climate requires some tough talking. The new Government is clearly looking to place some distance between itself and its predecessor. Therefore, the most obvious targets are, in our view, the low skilled migrants (stealing British jobs!) and the highly skilled (also stealing British jobs!) except for investors and entrepreneurs who will continue to be welcome as a breath of fresh air in an economy starved for cash and investments.

In spite of the recent changes brought to the Tier 1 General Scheme implemented on 6 April 2010, the near future may see another turn of the screw for migrants making it harder to qualify under the Scheme. We would advise, thus, the highly skilled to apply sooner rather than later since this category is still a sure route to gain settlement particularly in light of the much advertised future “caps” for migrants. Meanwhile, the current focus on the UK Border Agency (UKBA) remains its relentless success in catching and removing illegal workers with the added bonus of thousands of pounds in fines for rogue employers to be named and shamed on the UKBA’s website.

Another immigration category, which may attract some unwanted interest is the long residence.  The long residence was initially born as a policy concession. However, in April 2003 it was included in the Immigration Rules. Under this category, you will need to show that you have been living in the UK for a continuous period of 10 years legally in order to be eligible for settlement. There should be no absence greater than 6 months in any one year provided that you had existing limited leave to enter or remain upon your departure and return. Furthermore, you should not have been absent from the UK for more than 18 months in the 10 year period. Additionally, those who have resided in the UK for over 14 years including without leave or as illegal entrants may be able to apply as long as their continuity has not been broken  by an enforcement decision to be removed or deported. Long residence applications can be complex and again legal advice may be sought to discuss the merit of the individual application.

However, the tide may soon turn against this type of applications as it may become harder in the current political climate to justify how someone who has lived illegally in the UK may then be rewarded by a grant of UK settlement. This, however, does not capture the full picture and sad stories of individuals who are often living without rights, in hiding, exploited and vulnerable to abuse in the black market.


Migra & Co is a private immigration company, regulated by the Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC), reference number F200900038. This website is not a government website and as such, we are not linked or affiliated with the UK Visas and Immigration. We offer expert legal advice and flexible tailored solutions to both private and corporate clients to ensure that their immigration needs are met. If you wish to download or prepare a UK visa application form, you can do so free of charge by visiting the Official UKVI website.