Following a legal challenge by Islington Law Centre and the Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU), and campaigning by the organisation We Belong, in October 2021 the Home Office announced a concession (a slight change in policy) for some young people who have been granted periods of limited leave and will eventually want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
December 2021 update – concession now available to young people even if they are over 24 years old. See below.
Young people who have lived in the UK a long time
There are some situations in which you can apply for leave to remain in the UK based on having been here a long time.
One of these is for young people, aged between 18 and 24 years old.
The immigration rules allow people to apply for leave to remain in the UK if you are between 18 and 24 years old and you’ve lived continuously in the UK for more than half your life.
Periods of limited leave to remain
If you are successful in applying for leave to remain in the UK under this rule, you will be granted 2.5 years’ leave to remain.
You can apply to renew your leave to remain (before it runs out). If successful, you will be granted another period of 2.5 years’ leave to remain.
Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain
Previously, if you wish to apply for settled status (Indefinite Leave to Remain – a form of immigration status that does not have a time limit), you could apply after ten years limited leave to remain. That is, 4 periods of 2.5 years’ leave to remain.
New Home Office concession
Now, thanks to the legal challenge and campaigning, the Home Office have announced a slight change in policy.
Young people who have been granted leave to remain under this route can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after five years’ limited leave.
The Home Office will still consider other factors before making a decision:
- the person’s age when they arrived in the UK
- the length of their residence in the UK (including unlawful residence)
- the strength of their connections and integration to the UK
- whether unlawful residence in the past was the result of non-complianceon the part of the applicant or their parent/guardian whilst the applicant was under the age of 18
- efforts made to engage with the Home Office and regularise status
- any leave currently held and length of continuous lawful leave
- any period of any continuous leave held in the past
- whether (and the extent to which) limited leave to remain will have a detrimental impact on the person’s health or welfare
The initial Home Office concession meant that only people aged 18-24 years old could benefit from this earlier qualification for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR). In December 2021, after working with the organisation We Belong, the Home Office guidance now allows people over the age of 24 to benefit. Note that the immigration rules on the initial leave to remain for young people still require you to be 24 or under – but once you are successful in applying for this leave, you can still benefit from the concession on ILR – qualifying after five years’ leave to remain rather than ten – if you are over 24 by the time you are applying.
Read the We Belong update, including information on how to apply for the concession, here.
You can read the Home Office guidance on the policy concession here.
We have updated our Toolkit page (our guide to the UK asylum and immigration system) on Applying to Stay in the UK Because You’ve Lived Here a Long Time.
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