Work based Settlement in the UK

Work based settlement routes include the Tier 1 General Highly Skilled Worker (until April 2018 only), Tier 2 General Skilled Worker and Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer categories of the points-based system, the Sole Representative of an Overseas Business category and the UK Ancestry visa.

Eligibility Requirements:

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain you will need to satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the UK in a permitted category;
  • You have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any rolling 12 calendar month periods preceding the date of application;
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the English language (unless an exemption applies);
  • You have taken and passed the Life in the UK test (unless an exemption applies).

If you qualify for settlement, or indefinite leave to remain, you will be able to stay in the UK without any time restrictions. Your settled status will lapse if you are absent from the UK for more than 2 years. If your ILR has lapsed, you may wish to consider applying for a Returning Resident visa in order to return to the UK.

You will not need to satisfy the English language requirement or pass the Life in the UK test if you are under 18 or at least 65 years of age. The Home Office also has a discretion to waive the requirement if it would be unreasonable to expect you to fulfil that requirement due to a mental or physical condition. Various other exemptions also apply.

If you are already in the UK but are unable to satisfy the English language requirement, you may be able to extend your permission to stay, so that you can prove your knowledge of English.

Each of the work related settlement categories also have their own additional eligibility criteria, which are summarised below.

Category Specific Requirements:

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK as a Tier 2 General migrant, you will need to show that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the UK as a Tier 2 (General) migrant or in any combination of the relevant categories as set out in Paragraph 245HF(c) of the Immigration Rules; and
  • You have not spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any rolling 12 month period preceding the date of application and provide specified documents to evidence the reasons for the absences, which must be in connection with the employment or for a serious or compelling reason; and
  • You are not in the UK in breach of immigration laws except that any period of overstaying for a period of 28 days or less will be disregarded;
  • You are still required for the employment in question, as certified by your employer;
  • You are paid more than £35,000. From 6 April 2018 the minimum salary will increase to £35,500. Thereafter it will increase annually to £35,800, £36,200, £36,900 and finally £37,900 on 6 April 2022. This may not apply to you if your job is PhD level; if you have ever worked in a shortage occupation during your Tier 2 stay; or if you are basing your indefinite leave to remain application on a period as a qualifying work permit holder or a period of Tier 2 leave granted before 6 April 2011;
  • In addition to the salary requirements above, you are paid at or above the appropriate rate for the job as stated in the Codes of Practice;
  • You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.

If you were initially granted leave in the Tier 2 ICT category on or after 6 April 2011, then you will not be eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain. If you were granted leave as a Tier 2 ICT migrant before 6 April 2010, you may be eligible for indefinite leave to remain if you satisfy UK Visas and Immigration that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the UK as a Tier 2 ICT migrant or in any combination of the relevant categories as set out in Paragraph 245GF(c) of the Immigration Rules; and
  • You have not spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any of the rolling 12 month periods preceding the date of application and provide specified documents to evidence the reasons for the absences, which must be in connection with the employment or for a serious or compelling reason; and
  • You are not in the UK in breach of immigration laws except that any period of overstaying for a period of 28 days or less will be disregarded; and
  • You are still required for the employment in question, as certified by your employer; and
  • You are paid at or above the appropriate for the job as stated in the Codes of Practice; and
  • You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.

In order to qualify for Settlement in the UK as a Sole Representative of an Overseas Business, you will need to show that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the UK as the sole representative of an overseas business; and
  • You have not spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any rolling 12 month period preceding the date of application and provide specified documents to evidence the reasons for the absences, which must be in connection with the employment or for a serious or compelling reason; and
  • You met the requirements for an extension of stay throughout the 5 year period; and
  • You are still required for the employment in question, as certified by your employer; and
  • You have demonstrated sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.

In order to qualify for indefinite leave to remain in the UK on grounds of UK Ancestry you will need to demonstrate that:

  • You have spent a continuous period of 5 years lawfully in the United Kingdom with a UK Ancestry Visa; and
  • You are employed, self-employed or seeking employment at the date of application and have been throughout most of the five years; and
  • You have not been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any rolling 12 month period preceding the date of application; and
  • You can provide specified documents to evidence any absence that was for a serious or compelling reason; and
  • You have sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.

Your dependent partner may qualify for ILR if they have permission to be in the UK as your partner and they have been living with you in the UK for at least 2 years (if they applied before 9 July 2012) or 5 years (if they applied on or after 9 July 2012). If aged 18 to 64, your partner will need to pass the Life in the UK test and an English language test.

Your dependent child may qualify for ILR if they were previously given permission to stay in the UK as your child. You and your child’s other parent should generally both be in the UK legally, or currently applying to enter, remain or settle, for the child to be allowed to settle. Your child can also apply for settlement if you are the child’s sole surviving parent, you have sole responsibility for the child’s upbringing or there are serious or compelling family or other considerations.

Call our immigration lawyers on 0330 058 3929 or contact us online to discuss settlement by work route.