5 Year Work And Business Routes To Settlement In The UK

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In this post, we provide an overview of the other UK immigration routes to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) not covered in our Quickest Ways to Get ILR in the UK blog.
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In this post, we provide an overview of the other UK immigration routes to indefinite leave to remain (ILR) not covered in our Quickest Ways to Get ILR in the UK blog. This post will consider the 5 and 10 year routes to settlement. The 20 year route to ILR has recently been explained here.

The 5 Year Routes to Settlement in the UK

Global Talent Route

This indefinite leave to remain route has been covered in the first of this series of blog posts. In short, those last endorsed by Arts Council England or Tech Nation can settle in the UK after a period of 5 years if they meet the settlement requirements.

Employment Based Routes to Settlement in the UK

Skilled Worker

This route to settlement is for those individuals who have been employed in an eligible skilled occupation by a Home Office approved skilled worker sponsor. Certain employers with a licence from the Home Office have permission to recruit individuals from outside the UK to come and work in specific skilled occupations. Skilled workers are required to meet requirements that include showing that they have a certificate of sponsorship from their licensed employer, they will be occupying a genuine vacancy and they will be paid a salary that meets the requirement for their role. This route replaced the Tier 2 (General) route, therefore those with leave or who had leave as a Tier 2 (General) migrant will be able to settle using the skilled worker route.

International Sportsperson

Elite sportspeople and qualified coaches recognised as internationally established in their sport have the opportunity to settle permanently in the UK depending on how long they have spent in the International Sportsperson category. This category allows individuals to be granted periods of leave of varying lengths, 12 months or less or more than 12 months, therefore, only those who have spent more than 12 months in this category will be eligible for settlement after five years in the UK. This is particularly important to remember for those who have spent time in the UK in different categories and would like to use all of that time to meet the five year requirements. This is explained further in the section on combining periods of leave to meet the ILR requirements below.

Some of the requirements to enter the UK on this route include demonstrating that you have a valid job offer from an approved international sportsperson sponsor and you have an endorsement from your sport's UK Governing Body. This body will need to confirm that you are internationally established at the highest level and you will make a significant contribution to your sport's development (at the highest level) in the UK. Supplementary and voluntary work can be undertaken whilst on this route.

Minister of Religion

Individuals with a key leading, mainly pastoral, role in their faith based organisations or religious orders are able to come and settle in the UK via this route. Indefinite leave to remain status can be obtained once having spent a continuous five year period in the UK and time spent in this route can be combined with other routes listed in the combination of routes section below. Entrance into this category requires individuals to meet requirements such as obtaining a job offer from a licensed Tier 2 Minister of Religion sponsor and having a valid certificate of sponsorship; meeting the financial requirements and showing competency in the English language at level B2 on the Common European Framework of Reference (CEFR) for Language.

Scale Up

This route to settlement is for talented individuals possessing the skills necessary to help a Scale Up business continue growing. To be in this category, one requires a highly skilled job offer from a Home Office authorised Scale-up business. The list of eligible jobs can be found on the Home Office website here. You will require a valid Certificate of Sponsorship issued by the business and you will also need to meet the salary and English language requirements. Individuals can ultimately be in this route unsponsored, however to get to this stage, they would need to have last been granted permission as a Scale Up-Worker, therefore, to have been granted permission via the sponsored route. Settlement in this route requires one to meet further salary requirements, including demonstrating that one has had monthly PAYE earnings equivalent to at least £33,000 during at least 24 months in the three years immediately before their date of application. It is, therefore, important to think in advance about settlement in this route in order to ensure that one has the required evidence.

Overseas Domestic Worker

Domestic Workers in a private household who first entered the UK using the rules which were in place on or before 5 April 2012 are eligible to apply for settlement under this route. Individuals who have been in the UK since that time and who have extended their stay in this route would have been eligible to apply for settlement after a continuous period of 5 lawful years in the UK. Applicants would need to show that they entered with valid entry clearance as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household using the rules which applied before 5 April 2012, they have not worked in the UK apart from as a Domestic Worker in a Private Household and they will continue to be required to work by their employer. Those who have been in this route since 2012 and have extended their stay every 12 months might now be eligible for ILR under the 10 year route to settlement (Long Residence ILR), which is discussed below.

Business Based Routes to Settlement in the UK

Representative of an Overseas Business

This route to settlement was for senior employees of overseas businesses who were assigned to the UK in order to establish a wholly-owned subsidiary or branch. It is no longer open to new applications and those interested in representing an overseas business as it plans to set up its first UK branch can apply for the UK Expansion Worker visa (Global Business Mobility). Individuals already in the UK as Sole Representatives are able to obtain ILR status under this route. The requirements they will need to meet include demonstrating that the overseas business has continued to be active and trading with its principal headquarters and place of business remaining outside of the UK; the Sole Representative has been working full time for the business and has not been engaged in any other businesses; and they also do not have a majority stake in or otherwise own or control a majority of the overseas business they represent.

Representative of a Media Organisation

Indefinite leave to remain status can be obtained under this route by those employed by an overseas organisation and who have been posted on a long-term assignment to the UK. The organisation needs to be a Newspaper, News Agency or Broadcasting Organisation that is active and trading outside the UK with its offices also outside the UK. The organisation unlikely in the Sole Representative route, can have more than one representative in the UK. Individuals would need to satisfy the Home Office that they are genuinely representing the media organisation and were employed by the organisation whilst outside the UK. One is restricted to working for the media organisation they represent once on this route to settlement. An initial grant of leave is for three years, and once having spent five years in this category, one can obtain ILR status by meeting the necessary requirements. These include demonstrating that you have spent the five year continuous period as an employee of the overseas organisation undertaking a long term assignment

ECAA Turkish Worker or Business Person Visa

This route to indefinite leave to remain status was for Turkish nationals over the age of 18, who either started a new business in the UK or came to the UK to help run an established one. Although initial applications from main applicants are no longer accepted, settlement in this route can be obtained by those who had entry clearance or permission to stay in this route and who meet the ILR requirements. Requirements include continuing to run and intending to continue running the business/es being relied on to be viewed as a Turkish business person; demonstrating you have supported family members and yourself without recourse to public funds and meeting the English language and Life in the UK requirements.

Switching into Work and Business Routes to Settlement in the UK

You can switch into the following routes from inside the UK if you do not currently have or were last granted permission as a Visitor, Short-term student, Parent of a Child Student, Seasonal Worker, Domestic Worker in a Private Household, outside the immigration rules or if you are on immigration bail:

  • Global Talent; Skilled Worker; Representative of an Overseas Media Organisation and Scale-up; and
  • T2 Minister of Religion/International Sportsperson - please note if you are switching from a T4 Visa (to a T2 Minister of Religion visa) or a student visa (into an International Sportsperson visa) which one can do whilst in the UK, one will need to have been sponsored by a licensed sponsor to get one of the following: a UK bachelors or masters degree; postgraduate certificate in education or a professional graduate diploma of education. If you're a PHD student you need to have at least finished 12 months of your studies during your most recent stay in the UK, either through a licensed sponsor or another visa on which you could study.

Applicants will need to ensure that they apply before their current visa expires.

Combining Work and Business Routes to Reach 5 Years' Continuous Residence in the UK for ILR

The following list shows which work and business routes can be combined to demonstrate 5 years' continuous residence in the UK for the purpose of an indefinite leave to remain application:

  • Global Talent: Global Talent; Innovator; Skilled Worker/T2 General;T2 Minister of Religion; T2 Sportsperson; Tier 1 Migrant other than Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur); or Scale-up.
  • Skilled Worker or International Sportsperson: Skilled Worker; Global Talent; Innovator; T2 Minister of Religion; International Sportsperson; Representative of an Overseas Business; Tier 1 Migrant (other than T1 Graduate Entrepreneur); Scale-up; or Permission spent on any other route during the time you were waiting for a decision on your application in the Skilled Worker or International Sportsperson route as long as your application was for permission to stay, was made between 24 January 2020 and 30 June 2021 (inclusive), supported on the date of application by a certificate of sponsorship assigned by a licensed sponsor and was granted.
  • T2 Minister of Religion/Scale-up: T2 Minister of Religion; International Sportsperson; Skilled Worker; T1 Migrant other than T1 (Graduate Entrepreneur) Migrant; Representative of an Overseas Business; Innovator; Global Talent; or Scale-up.
  • ECAA Turkish Worker or Business Person visa: Turkish Worker or Business Person; Tier 2 (General Migrant); Tier 2 (Minister of religion) Migrant; Tier 2 (Sportsperson); or as a work permit holder.

Certain routes will not allow for a combination of time spent on other routes to meet the settlement residency requirements to be met, as such individuals will need to ensure they spent the entire ILR qualifying period in that route. The routes are:

  • T1 Entrepreneur;
  • T1 Investor;
  • Innovator; or
  • Sole Representative of an Overseas Business/Media Organisation.

Individuals will need to ensure that they spend the entire qualifying period in the routes identified directly above to ensure that they meet the residency requirements.

Dependants Under the Above Routes to Settlement

Dependent partners (civil partners, spouses, unmarried or same-sex partners) and children (under 18) of main applicants in the routes covered aboove will be able to settle in the UK provided that they meet the settlement criteria. These include demonstrating one's relationship with the main applicant, meeting the knowledge of life in the UK and English language requirements. Where children are applying, the child's other parent who is not the main applicant, must be being granted settlement at the same time, be settled or a British citizen or must be the child's sole surviving parent, or have sole responsibility of the child or demonstrate to the Home Office that there are serious and compelling reasons to grant them settlement without the other parent. This requirement also importantly applies at the entry clearance and permission to stay stage.

Partners will be required to spend five continuous years in the relevant category that their partner is in. This means, for example that although the main applicant as an Innovator can acquire indefinite leave to remain status after 3 years, their partner can only acquire it after 5 years as their dependant in the category.

Where there has been a combination of periods, where visas allow for this, and the partner has been in the UK with the main applicant, they will generally be required to have spent time in the UK in those same categories to qualify for settlement as a dependent partner by meeting the continuous residence period requirement. Where a partner is applying for settlement as the partner of an individual on the T1 Entrepreneur or T1 Investor visa, they will be required to have spent the most recent part of the 5 year period with leave within the same category as their partner.

The rules no longer allow for dependants of Overseas Domestic Workers to join them in the UK, however such dependents could join the main applicants in these routes before 05 April 2012, therefore are likely to be eligible for settlement at the same time as applicants (after 5 years or using the 10 year long residence route where settlement was not applied for after 5 years and the ILR requirements are met). It is important to note that children over the age of 18 who are applying for settlement under this route will be required to apply on a separate form from the main applicant.

Where children have applied with both of their parents, they will only qualify for settlement where both parents qualify for settlement, therefore they will generally qualify for settlement after 5 years of continuous residence in the UK. For example, with the Innovator route, a child will only be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years where both parents are applying, despite the main applicant being eligible for settlement after 3 years in the category. Where one parent is deceased or one parent is solely responsible for the child, the child can apply for and acquire settlement status at the same time as their parent.

This article has provided a brief overview of some of the ways to obtain Indefinite Leave to Remain status in the UK, focusing on the five year routes in the business and employment categories. It has also provided an overview of which categories can be mixed together (by reference to those discussed in the blog posts published so far in this series) to meet the continuous residence requirement for settlement status and has discussed the ability for dependants to join main applicants in the UK on such routes. The next blog post in this series will consider the remaining 5 year routes to settlement, including those on a family and relationship basis and the 10 year route to settlement.

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.

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