Important Information Regarding Recent changes to Tier 2 and Indefinite Leave to Remain
The UK Border Agency has recently changed the UK’s immigration rules regarding Tier 2 and Indefinite leave to Remain.
These changes affect all individuals who entered the UK on or after 6 April 2011.
Summary of Changes
The changes are as follows:
Tier 2 visa holders can now only stay in the UK under this category for a maximum of 6 years in total.
Tier 2 visa holders who wish to stay in the UK beyond 6 years, must apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK.
Tier 2 visa holders who are unable to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain will be required to leave the UK once they have been in the country for 6 years and will be unable to apply for another Tier 2 visa for at least 12 months.
Essentially, all individuals who wish to stay in the UK beyond 6 years, will be required to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain in order to continue to live and work in the UK.
Applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain
Tier 2 visa holders must apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after residing in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years. Indefinite Leave to Remain allows individuals to live and work within the UK without restriction.
In order to be eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain individuals must:
Demonstrate that they have resided in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years.
Ensure that the number of days that they are outside of the UK does not exceed 180 days in total for the 5 year period. This includes personal trips such as holidays, and also, potentially business travel. It is therefore very important that all possible steps are taken to ensure that business travel is properly recorded as such and that the UKBA does not penalise individuals who are out of the country for this purpose.
Ensure that no single absence from the UK exceeds 90 consecutive days.
Further information about how to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be found on the UKBA website: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/settlement/applicationtypes/
What actions should affected employees take now?
It is advisable that employees take the following steps now to make their Indefinite Leave to Remain application easier.
Keep a record of the details of all business and personal trips out of the UK, including the dates and reason for travel, and ensure that their passport is stamped accordingly. The UKBA will require this information at the time of application for Indefinite Leave to Remain and so it will make the application process easier if this information is already complete.
Retain any correspondence relating to any business travel, such as invitations to conferences, travel itinerary, head of department approval, career development/mentoring meetings etc.
Forward plan all business trips overseas to maximise efficiency, for example, grouping similar destinations together to reduce the amount of time required outside of the UK.
Consider using Skype or teleconferencing for short business trips.
Ensure that no single trip outside of the UK lasts for 90 consecutive days or more.
When preparing Indefinite Leave to Remain applications, individuals should ask their HR Adviser to prepare a letter to confirm that business travel was essential for the successful execution of the role and would have had serious consequences for the School’s reputation and/or the successful completion of the research project had the business travel not been undertaken.
When should individuals apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
Individuals should apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain once they have been in the UK for a continuous period of 5 years, and before the end of their 6th year in the UK.
Applications should be submitted to the UKBA no more than 28 days prior to the date that they become eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain.
When preparing the application, individuals should ensure that they read the UKBA guidance carefully and ensure that they use the most up-to-date application form and that their application is complete and accurate.
Further information about how to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain can be found on the UKBA website: http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/visas-immigration/settlement/applicationtypes/ Please note that information on the website changes regularly.
Queries about the recent immigration changes
Please contact your HR Adviser as soon as possible if you have any queries about the immigration changes:
Human Resources Division