‘A punishing process’: Experiences of people on the 10-year route to settlement

2 March 2023: Guardian: Half of people trying to get permanent UK residency by 10-year route struggle to afford food

Effects of ‘devastating and punishing’ Home Office system introduced in 2012 now being felt, experts say

More than half the people trying to secure permanent residency in the UK through the Home Office’s “devastating and punishing” 10-year route struggle to afford food and pay bills, a survey has indicated.

The 10-year route to settling permanently in the UK was one of a series of deliberately tough measures introduced in 2012 by Theresa May when she was home secretary, as part of drive to cut net migration. Researchers say the full effects of the policy are only now starting to be felt.

A survey of more than 300 people currently or recently making this application process found that 62% struggled to meet the cost of electricity, heating, water and internet, and 57% struggled to buy food, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research study.

The route is available to people who have strong ties to the UK, such as having a British child, but who do not earn enough to qualify for faster settlement routes. The cost of settlement has risen dramatically, and fees now exceed £12,800 for each adult, over the course of the decade-long qualification period.

Most of the estimated 170,000 people who are seeking to secure the right to remain permanently in the UK through the 10-year route are in low paid occupations, often care workers, cleaners and nursing assistants. Researchers said the design of the scheme led to “poverty and insecurity for many”.

Applicants must accrue 10 years of continuous lawful residence before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain. The requirement to reapply for renewed visas every 30 months leaves families feeling very insecure, the IPPR research found.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2023/mar/02/uk-residency-10-year-route-home-office

2 March 2023: IPPR: ‘A punishing process’: Experiences of people on the 10-year route to settlement

Around 170,000 people are estimated to have permission to remain in the UK on a ’10-year route to settlement’ – a pathway that requires them to accrue 10 years of continuous lawful residence before they can apply for indefinite leave to remain.

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While on this immigration route, individuals face a number of challenges. In this report, we take stock of the impacts of the 10-year route policy on people’s lives. Findings are drawn from a survey of over 300 people who are either on or have been on the route, as well as in-depth interviews with people on the route. 

Taken as a whole, it is evident from our research that there are detrimental impacts resulting from the design of the 10-year route to settlement on people who have made, and wish to continue making, their lives in the UK. 

As an overarching recommendation, we suggest that the 10-year route policy should be reviewed as part of a wider independent review of the immigration system to better understand the effects of the route on individuals on the basis of race, gender, age and disability, as well as its impact on wider society – including on other local and central government policy objectives (such as wider integration, belonging and social cohesion goals) and budgets.

Read more: https://www.ippr.org/research/publications/a-punishing-process

Read the QARN leaflet ‘Excessive Fees’ here – it can also be downloaded. It was written in 2020 and there are updates regarding pricing on the website: https://qarn.org.uk/qarn-leaflets-download-them-here/

You can see the Government’s ‘transparency’ figures here: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/visa-fees-transparency-data