In his first statement as prime minister, Boris Johnson made the bold claim that, on behalf of the government, he will unequivocally give his ‘guarantee to the 3.2 million EU nationals now living and working among us…that, under this government, they will have the absolute certainty for the right to live and remain.’ This would mean that these EU nationals should easily get a UK settlement visa . Unfortunately, a spokesperson then later clarified that this did not in fact mean that new legislation would be proposed. Boris Johnson intends to maintain the EU Settlement Scheme. This scheme in fact implies that migrants who fail to apply in time will lose their legal status and residency rights. It is thought, based on figures, that at least 2 million EU nationals have not yet applied for this settled status. The Home Office has also brought the deadline forward from the original 30th June 2021 to 31st December 2020.
What is a UK Settlement Visa?
A UK settlement visa lets you live, work and study in the UK with almost no future restrictions. Permanent settlement status in the UK is also known as indefinite leave to remain and it is the most comprehensive and long-term status that you can obtain. Because of this, applying for permanent settlement can be a complex process. You may need specialist legal help in order to submit the strongest application possible.
When are you eligible to apply for UK settlement?
You can apply for a UK settlement visa if you have been living in the UK for five or more years on a different type of visa. This could be a work, study or a business visa. You can also apply for a settlement visa if you are from the EEA or Switzerland and have lived here for that same amount of time.
How long would you be able to stay?
As suggested by Boris Johnson’s claims for an ‘absolute certainty for the right to live and remain’, the UK settlement visa allows an individual to remain in the UK for as long as they wish. Because there are nearly no restrictions, these visas are commonly sought by anyone who has held a previous long-term visa such as a UK family visa or a UK spouse visa. Once you have lived in the UK for at least a year on a settlement visa, you will be eligible to apply for British citizenship.
What happens if I don’t qualify for Indefinite Leave to Remain?
If you don’t yet meet the requirements that allow you to qualify for indefinite leave to remain then you may be able to extend your existing visa temporarily. This is known as further leave to remain. It is important to bear in mind that you must apply to extend your stay before your existing visa permissions expire. If you do not do this then you will be considered an over stayer and you will place yourself at risk of being forceable removed from the UK. If you are recorded as an overstayer, it also has potential to have a negative impact on later application to stay.
With the UK being in such troubled and uncertain times, trying to secure your permanent residency can seem like an impossible task. However, with the right legal support it is more than possible to get all of the correct documentation sorted out.