Regularise: A Safer Path to Settlement:

This report comes from StatusNow4All signatory organisation Regularise

24 May 2021: Regularise: A Safer Path to Settlement: Undocumented migrants and the 20 year rule on long residence

Excerpt from Regularise’s briefing:

Background

The 20 year rule on long residence is an immigration directive which appears in the Immigration Rules, written by the Home Secretary and published by the Home Office under the power of section 3 of the Immigration Act 1971. It concerns the ability of undocumented migrants to regularise their status and subsequently—after a 10 year period of ‘continuous lawful residence’ in the UK—qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) via multiple applications for Limited Leave to Remain (LLR).

Introduced on 9th July 2012, the 20 year rule replaced the 14 year rule which formerly provided a shorter and more direct route to settlement. Prior to 2012, this route permitted undocumented migrants living in the UK to regularise their status by applying for ILR immediately following 14 years continuous residence. 

Under the 20 year rule, in order to reach the same point of qualification for an ILR application, a person is required to have continuously resided in the UK for at least 30 years which includes at least 20 years continuous and precarious residence before they are able to make four separate successful applications for 30 months of LLR at a time, totalling a further 120 months or 10 consecutive years (see Fig.1). For comparison, the EU Settlement Scheme required over a million EU migrants to prove they had five years’ continuous residence before being granted settled status. As of May 2020, more than 3.3 million EU Settlement Scheme applications had been concluded of which 57% were granted settled status and 41% pre-settled status.

How does the 20 year rule work?

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