Individuals with permission to stay in the UK under Skilled Worker route, and Tier 2 (General) as it was previously known, are eligible to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (‘ILR’), also known as settlement. Here we explore the application requirements and process.
Indefinite Leave to Remain as a Skilled Worker – main requirements
The requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain under this route are contained in the following sections of the Immigration Rules:
- Appendix Skilled Worker
- Appendix Skilled Occupations
- Appendix KOL UK
- Appendix Continuous Residence
- Part 9: grounds for refusal
Validity and suitability requirements for Indefinite Leave to Remain
Applicants can only apply for settlement under this route if they were last granted permission as a Skilled Worker or Tier 2 (General) migrant.
The Immigration Rules only refer to Skilled Worker, however, all references to Skilled Workers also include Tier 2 (General) migrants.
The correct application form must be filed, all relevant fees paid and the required biometrics provided.
Further, the applicant must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal, where consideration will be given to previous immigration and criminal history.
At the time of application, the applicant must not be in breach of immigration laws or on immigration bail.
ILR eligibility requirements – continuous residence
Applicants must have spent a period of five years’ continuous residence in the UK in order to be eligible for settlement.
During this five-year period, the applicant can have held permission in any of the following categories:
- Skilled Worker (and/or Tier 2 (General))
- Global Talent
- T2 Minister of Religion
- International Sportsperson
- Representative of an Overseas Business
- any Tier 1 route other than Tier 1 (Graduate Entrepreneur)
The relevant five-year period must be made up of continuous residence. Continuous residence will be broken if the applicant has been absent from the UK for more than 180 days in any 12-month period.
For any period of time the applicant has spent in the UK with permission which was granted under the rules in place before 11 January 2018, the absence requirement differs slightly. In such cases, the individual should not have spent more than 180 days outside the UK in any consecutive 12-month period. Each consecutive 12-months will end on the same date of the year as the date the online settlement application is submitted.
Under limited circumstances, certain absences from the UK will be disregarded. Absences for the following reasons should not be counted towards the 180-day limit:
- assisting with a national or international humanitarian or environmental crisis overseas, providing if on a sponsored route their sponsor agreed to the absence for that purpose;
- travel disruption due to natural disaster, military conflict or pandemic;
- compelling and compassionate personal circumstances, such as the life-threatening illness of the applicant, or life-threatening illness or death of a close family member;
- research activity undertaken by a Skilled Worker which was approved by their sponsor and where the applicant was sponsored for a job in occupation code 2111, 2112, 2113, 2114, 2119, 2150 or 2311;
- research activity undertaken by a person on the Global Talent route who was endorsed by The Royal Society, The British Academy, The Royal Academy of Engineering, or UKRI;
- research activity undertaken by a person on the Global Talent route who qualified on the basis of a prize listed in table 6 of Appendix Global Talent: Prestigious Prizes.
ILR eligibility requirements – Knowledge of Life in the UK
Those applying for settlement in the UK must have passed the Life in the UK test prior to submitting their settlement application.
Those who are aged under 18, or are 65 or over, are exempt from meeting this requirement, as are those applicants who have a disability (physical or mental) which prevents them from completing the test.
There is no longer an English language requirement for applicants applying for Indefinite Leave to Remain under the Skilled Worker route.
ILR eligibility requirements – sponsorship and salary
The sponsor of the Skilled Worker migrant will not be required to assign another Certificate of Sponsorship to them. However, the sponsor will continue to have some involvement in the settlement application.
On the date of the settlement application, the sponsor must still be approved by the Home Office to sponsor Skilled Workers.
The sponsor must confirm that they still require the Skilled Worker to work for them for the foreseeable future.
The salary requirement for settlement applications is now similar to that applied to Skilled Worker permission to enter and remain applications.
At the date of application for Indefinite Leave to Remain, the applicant must be paid an annual salary of at least £25,600 per year, and the going rate for their occupation code.
In such circumstances or where the applicant has worked in a role falling under occupation code 2111, 2112, 2113, 2114, 2119, 2150 or 2311, a lower salary threshold will be applied.
The applicant’s sponsor will be required to confirm that the applicant is paid and will be paid at least their eligible salary for the foreseeable future.
Making an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain
Those who are eligible, can apply by filing an online application form. Following submission of the form, applicants are required to provide biometrics (fingerprints and a photograph) at a UKVCAS application centre.
Settlement as a Skilled Worker: How our immigration solicitors can assist
If you require legal advice on an application for Indefinite Leave to Remain, our immigration specialists are always happy to have an initial discussion, please contact us, or complete the enquiry form below.
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