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Skilled Worker Indefinite Leave to Remain

Settlement/indefinite leave to remain

Many people who come to the UK as Skilled Workers will consider settling in the UK at some point. Often their family members will also wish to apply to settle at the same time. It is helpful to understand the requirements for settlement at an early stage to ensure that there are no unexpected problems. As a business employing sponsored workers, it is useful to understand the requirements for settlement as this will help you to retain your skilled workers without an ongoing sponsorship requirement.

Put simply, settlement means moving into a visa category called indefinite leave to remain. People with indefinite leave to remain have no time limit on their stay in the UK and no conditions of stay. They can reside and work in the UK without further permission from the Home Office. Settlement is a precursor to naturalisation if a person wishes to become a British citizen.

As an employer, it is straight forward to employ people with indefinite leave to remain. You would simply need a valid right to work check, and to comply with UK employment law such as the National Minimum Wage and Working Time Directives.

How to qualify for indefinite leave to remain as a Skilled Worker

Continuous residence

To qualify for settlement a person with a Skilled Worker visa must have completed a qualifying period of continuous residence in the UK with a Skilled Worker visa. The period with a Skilled Worker visa can be combined with certain other visa types to make up the 5-year qualifying period.

In general, the continuous period of residence will be broken by absences from the UK totalling more than 180 days in any 12-month period, or in any consecutive 12-month periods of residence prior to 11 January 2018. There are absences which can be disregarded when calculating the total number of absences in a 12-month period. These are detailed here.

Life in the UK test

To obtain indefinite leave to remain the applicant must provide evidence of having passed the Life in the UK test.

Sponsorship and salary

The Skilled Worker’s sponsor must still hold a valid sponsor licence and be approved by the Home Office to sponsor migrants.

The sponsoring employer must provide a letter to confirm they still require the sponsored worker to work for them for the foreseeable future, and that they are paid and will continue to be paid the required salary.

The required salary must meet or exceed the General Threshold and the Going Rate for settlement. The team at Freeths can advise on the required salary rates.

If a Skilled Worker meets these requirements, they will be granted indefinite leave to remain. This can be lost if the person is then absent from the UK for a two-year period. Specialist advice should always be sought in these circumstances.

How can Freeths help?

Our team of immigration solicitors have years of experience in successfully applying for indefinite leave to remain. We deliver a time and cost-efficient service to ensure you get the result you need. Our work includes:

  • Advising upon the evidence required to support the application.
  • Assessing the sponsored worker’s documentation and drafting representations in support of an application.
  • Preparing and submitting the indefinite leave to remain application for the sponsored worker and their dependants.
  • Liaising with the Home Office throughout the application process, to ensure a successful outcome.

We provide a responsive, full-service approach to ensure every visa matter is dealt with successfully and quickly.

If you would like to know more about applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain, or need help with an application, please contact our immigration team, who are on hand to help.

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