Our Immigration Lawyers answer this months most asked ILR Questions
A minor change to the Life in the UK test came towards the end of last year. From December 17th 2019, those who sit the test will no longer receive a ‘test reference ID’ and will instead receive a ‘unique reference number’.
However, despite petitions to reform the Life in the UK test, no significant changes have been implemented as of yet. However, it seems likely that such criticisms against the test – which strongly influences and determines an individual’s ability to gain Indefinite Leave to Remain status – will be raised once again now that both the general election and Brexit date have passed.
Those applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or British citizenship must pass the Life in the UK test by answering 75% of questions correctly, yet many have suggested it is neither a relevant nor realistic indication of how well an individual adapts to daily life in the UK.
A remaining concern now that Britain has officially left the European Union is that EU citizens will, from January 2021, be required to apply for a Tier 2 Work Visa in order to secure employment in the UK. This requires an annual salary of at least £30,000 and, what’s more, EU citizens who want to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain after having lived and worked here for five years must meet the salary requirement of £35,000.
Many have suggested that this will likely deter EU citizens from seeking to settle in the UK. Teachers, for example, would fail to meet the imposed salary requirements; on average, teachers in the UK earn an annual salary of between £23,720 and £28,089. The same applies to a number of other industries which similarly do not feature on the Shortage Occupation List and pay a salary below the stated threshold.
With the announcement on Tuesday 18th February of the government’s new immigration system, EU citizens are understandably concerned. The end of free movement marks the beginning of a stringent points-based system imposed upon both EU and non-EU/EEA citizens alike.
EU citizens (who will be arriving to the UK from January 2021) will be subject to a fee of £3,125 for a five-year stay in order to satisfy the Immigration Health Surcharge. Many fear that such extortionate charges – on top of visa fees – will deter EU citizens from settling in the UK. To apply for ILR, an individual must have lived in the UK for five years – so this health surcharge will be inevitable for those who wish to acquire ILR.
Those who wish to acquire indefinite leave to remain in the UK are required to meet the minimum salary requirement of £35,800. This is set to increase to £36,200 if you will be applying on or after 6th April 2020.
To be eligible for your £100 discount on any Immigration application or extension here are the requirements:
1. You are not eligible for this discount if you have already paid for your Immigration Application or Extension
2. You must pay for your application in full by March 31st to receive your £100 discount
3. Only 1 discount is available per customer
4. This offer expires on the 31st March 2020
5. To claim your discount please email our team or call us, our customer service team will gladly assist you.
6. The voucher code you must quote is: MARCH100 or MARCH2020
Indefinite Leave to Remain News - March 2020
Since the UK officially exited the European Union on 31st January 2020, it is now undergoing a ‘transition period’. Until 31st December 2020, virtually all EU rules will continue to apply in the UK, meaning that British citizens are still able to move freely across the EU and EU citizens are still able to move freely around the UK.
This provides some relief to EU nationals and their family members who are residing in the UK, as they will not be asked for proof of settled or pre-settled status to access healthcare, to rent property or to gain employment until 1 January 2021.
However, with the EU Settlement Scheme garnering significant criticism over the past year due to lengthy processing times and inaccurate decisions by the Home Office, many still fear what the future holds for EU nationals who wish to settle on a long-term basis in the UK.
Life in the UK Test
The ‘Life in the UK Test’ – a defining aspect of obtaining ILR – continues to provoke petitions for change.
Towards the end of 2019, many urged the UK Home Office to re-evaluate and reform the Life in the UK Test, due to its alleged irrelevance to modern life in the UK.
The test has long sparked criticism that it offers no real insight into how an individual will adapt to permanent residency.
It is considered by many to be a poor, outdated means of testing an individual’s understanding of British culture and norms.
ILR & EU Settlement Scheme
With the new points-based immigration system set to come into effect on 1st January 2021, EU citizens who currently hold indefinite leave to remain in the UK can continue to live in the UK without applying to the EU Settlement Scheme. However, those who do choose to apply will be granted ‘indefinite leave to remain under the EU Settlement Scheme’, also known as settled status, providing they meet all other conditions.
This allows EU citizens to spend up to 5 consecutive years outside of the UK without losing their settled status, as opposed to only being able to spend 2 years outside of the UK with the indefinite leave to enter or remain that they currently hold.