Indefinite Leave to Remain for Turkish nationals – new route opened

Legal Updates

flag of Turkey

Back in April, we wrote about the changes to Indefinite Leave to Remain rules for Turkish nationals.

To recap:

The Ankara Agreement

In 1963, the Turkish European Communities Association Agreement was set up (part of the “Ankara Agreement”) in order to promote trade and economic relations between Turkey and the European community, “paving the way for Turkey’s eventual accession to the Community”.

Under this agreement, Turkish nationals can apply for leave to remain in the UK if they have the intention to set up in business as a self-employed person.

Pre 2018 leave to remain rules

People granted leave to remain in this category will initially be granted 12 months’ leave to remain (see Home Office guidance here) and after completing one year of self-employment, can apply for further leave to remain – usually granted for 3 years at a time.

Until March 2018, a Turkish ECAA Business person could submit an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR, or “settlement”) if they could show they had spent a continuous period of 4 years in the UK, of which the most recent period of leave was as a Turkish ECAA businessperson.

March 2018 changes

On 16 March 2018, the UK Home Office withdrew the right to apply for settlement (Indefinite Leave to Remain) for people in the UK under the Turkish European Communities Association Agreement Business Persons category.

The Home Office had said that they intended to introduce a new ILR category for people in this situation, but provided no time-frame for this and thousands of people were suddenly in limbo.

July 2018 Immigration Rules

In the latest statement of changes to the Immigration Rules, a new appendix called “Appendix ECAA” has been introduced which provides a route to Indefinite Leave to Remain for Turkish business persons, workers and their family members.

This route applies for people seeking Indefinite Leave to Remain from 6 July 2018.

Criteria for Leave to Remain

The new appendix applies to Turkish business persons, workers and their family members.  The statement of changes defines these terms (see page 22 of the statement).  The definitions of business persons and workers are fairly self-evident: a business person being a Turkish national operating a business in line with the “ECAA leave” they have been granted (leave under the Ankara Agreement explained above); a worker being a Turkish national working lawfully in the UK in line with the ECAA leave they have been granted.

Family members are defined as: the spouse of an ECAA worker or ECAA business person; or the civil partner of an ECAA worker or business person; or the unmarried partner of an ECAA worker or business person; or a child aged under 21 of an ECAA worker, ECAA business person or their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner; or the adult dependant aged over 21 of an ECAA worker, ECAA business person or their spouse, civil partner or unmarried partner.

Turkish national business persons or workers will be able to get Indefinite Leave to Remain if they can prove:

  • their last grant of leave was under the ECAA agreement (see above)
  • they have lived in the UK continuously for five years
    they have shown sufficient knowledge of the English language and sufficient knowledge about life in the United Kingdom, in accordance with the Immigration Rules here
  • they have been able to support any family members with them without recourse to public funds to which they are not entitled; and
  • they do not fall for refusal under general grounds for refusal (more information in our Toolkit here)

Dependent children should be granted Indefinite Leave to Remain in line with the main applicant (they do not need to have lived in the UK continuously for five years).

Partners (see above for the list of partners in the definition) of someone eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain have to themselves be able to show five years’ residence in the UK before being eligible for Indefinite Leave to Remain (and will be able to apply for further periods of limited leave to remain until they are eligible for indefinite leave).

Read the Home Office guidance on the new rules here


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