If your partner or parent is in the UK on a business/work route and you have accompanied them as a dependant, you may be eligible to apply to 'settle' in the UK, also known as obtaining indefinite leave to remain. In this post, we will navigate through the intricacies of settling in the UK as a dependant, shedding light on the various business immigration routes available and the specific requirements each entails.
What Are the Business Immigration Routes?
The business and work routes of the Immigration Rules which allow settlement for dependants are:
- Skilled Worker
- T2 Minister of Religion
- International Sportsperson
- Representative of an Overseas Business
- UK Ancestry
- Global Talent
- Innovator Founder
This post covers the business routes generally. Route-specific guidance for applying as a dependant of a skilled worker is covered here.
Who Is a Permitted Dependant?
In the business and work routes of the Immigration Rules, the following dependants are permitted:
- Civil partners
- Partners who are not married or in a civil partnership but who have lived together in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership for at least 2 years
- Dependent children under the age of 18 on the date of application
- Dependent children over 18 who were last granted permission as a dependent child of their parent(s)
Note that those 18 years old or older who have not previously been granted permission as a dependent of the main applicant, cannot be granted permission as a dependent child. It is also not permitted for other relatives such as parents and grandparents to apply as dependants.
For children from previous relationships, it is required that any dependent children are either the sole responsibility of the main applicant or their dependent partner, or that they are jointly responsible for the child.
How Long Does It Take To Settle as a Dependant?
Being a dependant on a business route means that you can settle after 5 years in the route, subject to meeting the other criteria. This five years of residence must be completed in the dependants own right. This is even the case if the main applicant is on an accelerated route to settlement, although there are exceptions as set out below.
General ILR Requirements for Dependants
Dependent applicants must all meet the suitability requirements and not fall under any of the general grounds for refusal.
In order for an applicant's dependants to apply for ILR, the main applicant must either:
- Be being granted settlement at the same time as the applicant;
- Have previously been granted settlement while holding permission on the relevant immigration route;
- Have become a British citizen, having previously been granted settlement while holding permission on the relevant immigration route.
Requirements for partners:
To be eligible for settlement as a partner, the following requirements must be met:
- To have been in a relationship with the main applicant for a minimum of five years (for Skilled Worker or a Scale-up Worker);
- To be in a genuine and subsisting relationship with the main applicant at the date of application;
- To have most recently been granted permission as a dependant of the main applicant (for Global Talent, Innovator, Representative of an Overseas Business, International Sportsperson and Skilled Worker routes);
- To have held permission as a dependant for the qualifying period (this is five years for dependants on Global Talent, Innovator Founder, T2 Minister of Religion, International Sportsperson, Scale-up and Skilled Worker routes);
- To meet the continuous residence requirements;
- To meet the English language requirement, unless exempt;
- To meet the Knowledge of Life in the UK requirement, unless exempt.
- To intend to live in the UK with the main applicant permanently.
Requirements for children:
To be eligible for settlement as a child dependant, the following requirements must be met:
- To have most recently been granted permission as a dependant of the main applicant (unless born in the UK before the main applicant settled), which can be permission in a different route (for Global Talent, Innovator, Representative of an Overseas Business, International Sportsperson and Skilled Worker routes);
- To have held permission as a dependant for the qualifying period;
- To meet the residence requirements;
- If over 16 years old, to not be leading an independent life on the date of application;
- If a child applicant is 18 years old or older, they must also meet the English language and Knowledge of Life in the UK requirements, unless an exception applies.
Note that there are no absence requirements for child applicants.
Do I Have to Apply for ILR at the Same Time as the Main Applicant?
You can choose to apply for ILR at the same time as the main applicant or after they have applied – not before.
If you apply for ILR at the same time as the main applicant then the Home Office will consider the ILR applications together.
Exceptions: UK Ancestry and Sole Representative of an Overseas Business
UK Ancestry Visa
Dependants of main applicants on the UK Ancestry route can qualify for settlement as soon as the person with UK Ancestry has been granted settlement – they do not have to complete a specific qualifying period. They also do not have to have been previously granted on this route.
Dependants applying for settlement on the UK Ancestry route must not have, or have last been granted, permission on any of the following routes:
- As a Visitor
- As a Short-term Student
- As a Parent of a Child Student
- As a Seasonal Worker
- As a Domestic Worker in a Private Household
- Outside the Immigration Rules
Sole Representative of an Overseas Business
For dependants on the Sole Representatives of an Overseas Business route, there is also no residence requirement so they can also qualify for settlement so long as the main applicant is settled. Further information on this route, which is now closed to new applicants, can be found here.
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.