How does a criminal record impact your ability to settle in the UK?

As of January 2013, the UKBA requires a migrant to disclose all his/her criminal history in full even if their conviction(s) are deemed spent under the 1974 Rehabilitation Act. In addition, the UKBA has also introduced its own schedule  of what might be considered  “rehabilitated”.

Thus, for instance a Tier 1 General holder will not be eligible to apply for settlement unless in compliance with paragraph 245CD(b) stating that ”the applicant must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal, and must not be an illegal entrant.” Similarly, a Tier 2 General worker will be prevented from qualifying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) unless in compliance with paragraph 245HF(b) if the applicant falls for refusal under the general grounds for refusal.

The same stricter approach is taken in the case of the spouse or partner of a British Citizen applying for settlement as Appendix FM clearly states the applicant must not fall for refusal under any of the grounds in Section S-ILR: Suitability-indefinite leave to remain.

So, what are the grounds of refusal? These are to be found under paragraph 322(1C) and stipulate that:

1. The applicant will never qualify for settlement if the presence of the applicant in the UK is not conducive to the public good because they have been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to imprisonment for at least 4 years.

2. When the applicant has been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to imprisonment for less than 4 years but at least 12 months, they will not qualify for ILR unless a period of 15 years has passed since the end of the sentence.

3. The presence of the applicant in the UK is not conducive to the public good because they have been convicted of an offence for which they have been sentenced to imprisonment for less than 12 months, unless a period of 7 years has passed since the end of the sentence.

4. The applicant has, within the 24 months preceding the date of the application, been convicted of or admitted an offence for which they received a non-custodial sentence or other out of court disposal that is recorded on their criminal record.

5. The presence of the applicant in the UK is not conducive to the public good because, in the view of the Secretary of State, their offending has caused serious harm or they are a persistent offender who shows a particular disregard for the law.

We would urge anyone, who is planning to apply for ILR, to seek professional advice since an applicant is required to disclose in full his/her criminal record to avoid being accused of  making false representations which might also lead to a refusal.