NewsUK Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Rules: Major Changes Coming in April...

UK Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) Rules: Major Changes Coming in April 2024

If you are an immigrant living in the UK on a visa, the path to Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) is about to get tougher from April 2024 onwards. The UK government has announced significant changes to the Immigration Rules that will impact how long you need to live in the country before qualifying for ILR or permanent residency. These new ILR rules aim to reduce long-term immigration to the UK as part of the government’s broader plan to cut net migration. The changes come into effect on April 4, 2024, and will make it harder for many visa holders to settle permanently in the UK.

Here are all the key updates to the Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements so you can plan ahead and increase your chances of a successful ILR application.

What is Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR)?

Indefinite Leave to Remain is an immigration status granted to foreign nationals that allows them to live, work and study in the UK without any time restrictions. It is also a prerequisite for applying for British citizenship.

To qualify for ILR under the current rules, most visa holders need to demonstrate continuous residence in the UK for a certain period, usually 5 years on eligible visa routes like Skilled Worker or Spouse visas.

There are also requirements around meeting a minimum income threshold, passing an English language test, and proving good character.

Key Changes to UK ILR Rules from April 2024

Here are the major updates to the Indefinite Leave to Remain requirements coming into effect on April 4, 2024:

1. Longer UK Residency Requirements

Currently, most visa holders can apply for ILR after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. The new rules will extend this residency period as follows:

Some exceptions may apply, like for victims of domestic violence who can still qualify after 5 years.

2. No ILR for Some Visa Categories

Certain visa types will no longer provide a pathway to ILR or settlement from April 2024, including:

Visa holders in these categories can stay temporarily but cannot apply for ILR after any period of residency.

3. Higher Income Requirements

The income threshold for ILR applications is increasing significantly across most visa routes:

This aims to ensure only higher-paid skilled workers and families with sufficient means can settle long-term.

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4. English Language Requirements

From 2024, all ILR applicants aged 18-70 must pass a Secure English Language Test at the B1 level or higher, removing some previous exemptions

This is in addition to passing the Life in the UK test.

5. Continuous Residence Definition

The definition of “continuous residence” is being tightened to limit the number of days an ILR applicant can spend outside the UK during the qualifying period:

Any excess absences could reset the continuous residence clock.

These stricter ILR rules will make it significantly harder for many visa holders to achieve permanent UK residence and British citizenship. Careful planning and adherence to the new guidelines will be crucial.

How to Prepare for the New ILR Rules

If you are currently in the UK on an eligible visa like Skilled Worker or Spouse/Partner and hope to eventually settle permanently, here are some tips:

  1. Start Planning Early: With the longer 10-year residency requirement, you need to start preparing for your ILR application much sooner. Seek professional immigration advice to understand your specific situation.
  2. Maintain Continuous Residence: Closely track any days spent outside the UK to ensure you don’t exceed the new limits of 180 days per year and 540 days total during the qualifying period.
  3. Meet the Income Threshold: If your current salary is below the new £37,000 (Skilled Worker) or £27,000 (Partner) threshold, explore avenues to increase your earnings through promotions, job changes or additional income streams.
  4. Improve English Skills: Start preparing for the Secure English Language Test at B1 level if you don’t already meet the requirement. Consider taking classes or using online resources.
  5. Build Your Case: Maintain thorough documentation of your residence, income, employment, English tests and any other evidence that will support your future ILR application.

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The UK’s new Indefinite Leave to Remain rules are part of a broader strategy to attract only the highest-skilled, highest-paid immigrants for long-term settlement.

While making it tougher, the path to ILR is still achievable with proper planning and professional guidance. Start preparing today to improve your chances of success when you are ready to apply.

Also Read:

2024 UK Immigration Reform: Navigating the New Landscape for Indefinite Leave to Remain Applicants

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UK Triples Penalties for Illegal Working as Part of Immigration Crackdown 2024

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