Watch out for
ILR assessment

Beware! New provisions introduced to the immigration rules from yesterday allow Home Office caseworkers to calculate absences in a new way.

Currently, migrants applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) after five years continual residence in the UK must evidence they have had fewer than 180 days’ absences in any of the five consecutive 12 month periods preceding the date of the application for ILR.

The specified continuous period is always counted backwards from the date the ILR application is submitted. For example, if an applicant reaches the end of a specified five years on 30 January 2018 and they apply on 10 January 2018, the consecutive periods would be considered as follows:

  • year 1 – 10 January 2017 to 11 January 2018
  • year 2 – 11 January 2016 to 10 January 2017
  • year 3 – 11 January 2015 to 10 January 2016
  • year 4 – 11 January 2014 to 10 January 2015
  • year 5 – 11 January 2013 to 10 January 2014

Under the radar change

The recent statement of changes (HC309) included a understated but hugely important change in the wording of the rules pertaining to absences. To qualify for ILR, the replacement wording now refers to the migrant not being absent from the UK for more than 180 days during any 12 month period in the continuous period. 

Rather than calculating absences within each individual 12 month period (as per the above example), caseworkers therefore now have scope to determine if the 180-day limit has been breached over any rolling 12 month period and refuse applications on this basis.

Although new caseworker guidance has yet to be published on how to calculate the 5 year continuous lawful period for settlement when considering applications, Home Office staff may choose to adopt the rule change with immediate effect and use a new formula to calculate absences.

This inconspicuous change demonstrates that UK immigration processing procedures are constantly evolving. Applicants should therefore always seek up to date information and guidance prior to submitting their UK visa application.

Our dedicated team practises exclusively in the area of UK immigration. The team is on hand to provide unparalleled client support and ensure UK applications are successfully filed within the parameters of UK-based immigration law. Call us today.


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