This article explores the requirements for settlement applications as a Skilled Worker / Tier 2 (General) dependant. The relevant Immigration Rules are now found under Appendix Skilled Worker, as this route replaced the Tier 2 (General) route at 9:00am on 1 December 2020. The definition of 'Skilled Worker' under Paragraph 6 of the Immigration Rules includes those granted leave as Tier 2 (General) migrants. Therefore, the same Rules for settlement apply to dependants of Skilled Workers and Tier 2 (General) Migrants.

When can I apply for Skilled Worker / Tier 2 (General) dependant settlement?

Dependants can apply for settlement at the same time as the Skilled Worker or Tier 2 (General) Migrant ("the Lead Migrant"), or after the Lead Migrant has obtained settlement. It is also possible for dependants to apply for settlement after the Lead Migrant has naturalised as a British citizen provided that they obtained settlement in the Tier 2 (General) / Skilled Worker category.

Dependants will need to have completed a five-year 'qualifying period' before they can apply for settlement. Dependants must have spent a continuous period of five years in the UK with permission as the dependent partner or child of the Lead Migrant. It is possible to apply for settlement 28 days before reaching the five year qualifying period.

What is the five-year residence requirement?

Applicants must also meet the continuous residence requirement during the relevant period in order to settle. This means that applicants must not have broken their continuous residence. Continuous residence can be broken in any one of the following ways:

  • Where applicants have been absent for more than 180 days in any 12 month rolling period and none of the exceptions in Appendix Continuous Residence apply;
  • Where applicants have been convicted of an offence and sentenced to a period of imprisonment or to be detained in an institution other than a prison;
  • Where applicants are subject to a deportation order, exclusion order or exclusion direction;
  • Where applicants are subject to removal; or
  • Where applicants do not have permission to be in the UK and none of the exceptions in Appendix Continuous Residence apply.

If you entered the category before 11 January 2018, any absences during the period of grant under the Immigration Rules in place before 11 January 2018 will not be counted. Absences during any later grant of leave, following 11 January 2018, will count towards the residence requirement.

Relationship requirement: partners

Applicants who are applying as the dependent partner of the Lead Migrant must meet the relationship requirements and must have met them throughout the 5 year period, ending on the date of application. They must also have last been granted permission as a dependent partner of the Lead Migrant.

Applicants will need to show that they are in a genuine and subsisting relationship, and that they have been throughout the five-year period. They must also show that they have lived together with the Lead Migrant throughout their stay.

Both parents' settlement requirement for dependant children

Both parents must already have, or be applying for, settlement at the time that the child dependant applies. There are exceptions to this Rule if:

  • The parent being granted settlement is the sole surviving parent;
  • The parent being granted settlement has sole responsibility for the child's upbringing; or
  • There are serious and compelling reasons to grant the child settlement with the parent being granted settlement.

The latter two bullet points are complex. If either of these apply to you, you should seek legal advice.

Care requirement for dependant children

If there are applicants who are under the age of 18 on the date of application, their applications must contain evidence that there will be suitable arrangements for the child's care and accommodation in the UK, which must comply with relevant UK legislation and regulations. You will want to include details of where the child will reside and how they will be adequately cared for.

Age requirement for dependant children

Applicants must be under the age of 18 on the date of application unless they were last granted permission as a dependent child of their parents. If the applicant is over the age of 16, they will also be required to show that they are not leading an independent life.

Do I need to meet the English language and Life in the UK requirement?

Applicants aged between 18 and 65 must evidence that they meet the English language and Life in the UK requirements.

In terms of meeting the English language requirements, applicants must show one of the following:

  • They previously met this requirement in a successful application for permission;
  • They are a national of a majority English language speaking country;
  • They have an academic qualification which was taught in English; or
  • They have passed an approved Secure English Language Test to the CEFR level B1; or
  • They have a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5 or, Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher, in English (language or literature) awarded by an Ofqual (or SQA, Qualifications Wales or CCEA) regulated awarding body and following education undertaken in a UK based school which began while they were aged under 18.

Applicants who are required to meet the Life in the UK requirement are required to pass the Life in the UK test.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.