20 years Long Residence Rule
As a result of the changes in the Immigration Rules effected from 9 July 2012. The requirements to qualify for further leave have been extended from 14 years to 20 years. But what you may not be familiar with is the other changes, affecting qualifying for settlement. The new changes mean that applicants will have to wait a very long time after the 20 years to be able to achieve settled status. This could potentially have a devastating effect particulary if an applicant is looking to apply for a fiancée or even a spousal visa.
The new changes will have come as a bitter blow for those who were hoping to apply, the latter end of that year under the 14 years rule in 2012. Applicants then were able to qualify for indefinite leave remain (ILR) then. Only to find now that the goal post has been moved. They will now have to consider waiting for a further 6 years, until 2018 to apply, and even longer to qualify for settled status.
Applicants in this category can include overstayers, failed asylum seekers, dependents, and young adults who came to the UK at a young age. Applicants in this category will need to reconsider their position carefully, and their options in the light of these changes. Are there any other routes open to regularize their stay? It will be worth seeking professional legal advice.
Applicant should also note that is important that they are able to demonstrate close ties and connections in the UK, as well as demonstrating that they have been resident in the UK for 20 years as claimed. It is also well worth checking that their application does not fall for refusal under any of the other grounds of refusal , and appendix FM.
The Immigration Rules are more generous to minors who have lived in the UK continuously for at least 7 years, and also to young adults aged 18 years or above, and have spent at least half of their life in the UK. Also those who are over 18, who have lived continously in the UK for less than 20 years, but have no ties in their former country. In these cases these applicants do not need to be in the UK for 20 years to apply under the long residence rules.
Indefinite Leave to remain (ILR)
Applicants who qualify under the 20 years long residence will no longer automatically qualify for ILR straight away, but will be granted further leave to remain for a period not exceeding 30 months, that will need to be renewed. After 10 years following their long residence, they will be eligible for indefinite leave.
Therefore some applicants under this category would need to be in the UK for 30 years before they are able to apply for settled status.