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Hearty Welcome to our Carers at Heathrow with TRI Directors on 6th.December

Facts you should know about about Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR).


For holders of Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, Immigration Rules changed quietly in October 2023. The changes concern people who spend much time outside the UK but wish to protect their settled status in the UK or re-activate their settled status if it lapsed due to a prolonged absence.

Generally, indefinite leave to remain does not have an expiry date. But it can be cancelled (for example, following a criminal conviction) or it can lapse if you are out of the UK for two years or longer (or for five years if you were granted settled status under EU settlement scheme).


What recently changed for returning residents

In October 2023, Appendix Returning Resident replaced paragraphs 18, 18A, 19, 19A and 20 in Part 1 of the Immigration Rules. This introduced two important changes:

The requirement that the holder of ILR has to return to the UK for the purpose of settlement (previously set out in paragraph 18 (iv) of Part 1) has been removed. In practical terms, this means that visiting the UK once in two years (or once in five years for EU nationals and their family members) would be perfectly legitimate and would not amount to abuse of the system.
Secondly, Appendix Returning Resident allows an application for a Returning Resident visa if previously granted ILR was superseded by another type of visa, for example, visitor visa.
No requirement to be seeking admission for the purpose of settlement

It is a considerable relief both for returning residents and for immigration practitioners advising them that this requirement has been removed. In the past, an immigration officer had discretion to refuse admission to a person holding Indefinite Leave to Remain if the purpose of coming back to the UK was a short visit and the person had no lasting connections with the country (no property, employment, family etc).

Before introduction of Appendix Returning Resident, our advice was on the side of caution – if you are leaving the UK for a prolonged period of time, repeated visits may not be sufficient to maintain your indefinite leave to remain unless you have strong ties with the UK or can prove that your absences were of temporary nature – looking after a relative overseas, studying, working for a UK based employer.

Our advice now is more confident in that visiting the UK is sufficient to protect your status and the purpose of visit should not have an impact on your status.

This applies equally to EEA nationals and their family members with settled status who can maintain their settled status by visiting the UK at least once in five years (four years for Swiss citizens), and for people who acquired ILR through other immigration rules.

If you have been out of the country for longer than the permitted period of absence, you will have to apply for a returning resident visa. To make this application, you will have to show that you will be returning for the purpose of settlement – in other words, you have a viable plan to stay in the UK permanently (you would be expected to have, or be in a position to find, adequate accommodation and have a viable source of income to maintain yourself in the UK.

Permitted intervening admissions as a visitor

If you previously held indefinite leave to remain but have remained outside he UK for more than two years you will have to decide if you want to apply for a returning resident visa or a visitor visa.

In the past, a visitor visa granted in such circumstances would make it impossible to apply for a returning resident visa ever after. Now the rule has changed and you can visit if you are still unable to return for good.

If the purpose of travelling to the UK is a visit, it is a much better option to apply for a visitor visa. It will be easier to get a returning resident visa in due course if you have been consistent and open about your prospects and intentions in the UK.

Working abroad and maintaining indefinite leave to remain

If you are working abroad and don't have a home or family ties in the UK, but want to protect your settled status, the best advice an immigration lawyer can give you is to visit the UK at least every two years and keep evidence of your trips. You would normally get an entry stamp in your passport, but if you are coming through electronic gates and don't get a stamp, keep your boarding passes and travel itinerary in case you need to prove your trips.

Advantages of British citizenship over ILR

ILR is not the same as British citizenship. Citizenship is granted for life and does not lapse due to absence from the UK for any period of time.

However, you cannot apply for British citizenship if you had excessive absences in the five years prior to the application. And in addition, you will be making a declaration of your intention to live in the UK permanently. So application for British citizenship will not work as a protection of your settled status if you intend to leave for the foreseeable future. However, if you know that you will be leaving the country temporarily, but have intention to return, and your planned absence would affect your eligibility for British citizenship, it is a good idea to apply for naturalisation and a British passport.



The Home Office have issued a new Statement of Changes to the Immigration rules which was published on 08 September 2023.

Various changes have been made, but the most significant change is the removal of administrative review from decisions made under the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS). Many of the other changes are minor technical or drafting updates. The changes will take effect on various dates between 28 September 2023 and 31 January 2024. ​ Administrative Review Changes are being made to Appendix AR and Appendix AR(EU) to remove the right of administrative review for all decisions where it currently applies for the EUSS, the EUSS Family Permit and the S2 Healthcare Visitor visa. This applies to decisions made on or after 05 October 2023. Applicants in all three routes will still have the ability to appeal EUSS decisions, in line with the Citizen's Rights Agreement. ​ Appendix EU Appendix EU is also being amended in line with the existing policy position that where a dependant parent or child has already been granted limited leave under Appendix EU, they will not need to evidence dependency again for further applications. This change will take effect from 05 October 2023. ​ Appendix FM The relationship requirements for leave to remain as a child have been amended so that those with leave as an adult dependent relative are no longer excluded from bringing a child to the UK. This change will take effect from 05 October 2023. ​ Youth Mobility Scheme (YMS) visa From 31 January 2024, Andorra is being added to the list of participating countries under the scheme. On the same date, Australian and Canadian nationals will also be able to apply for the YMS visa up until the age of 35 years and the period of leave granted will increase from two to three years. ​ Long Residence The definition of 'lawful residence' was changed in April 2023 to exclude time spent as a visitor, short-term student or seasonal worker. The rules are now being amended to clarify that this exclusion extends to time spent on previous visitor, short-term student visa or seasonal worker routes. This change will take effect from 05 October 2023. ​ Appendix Children This is a new appendix to the immigration rules. It has requirements that apply to children applying both in their own rights as well as dependants of a main applicant. It will apply only to certain routes from 5 October 2023 and will be rolled out further in future. ​ Appendix Electronic Travel Authorisation (ETA) From 05 October 2023, NHS debt as a reason to refuse an application for an ETA is being removed as checks cannot be made in advance of travel. The reasoning has been outlined as below: 'The ETA application is intended to be a light touch application, that is processed quickly for the traveller. The current systems in use are not capable of processing information on NHS debt quickly enough to deliver an ETA decision at the required speed.' ​ The explanatory memorandum does however warn that entry could still be refused at the border if NHS debt is discovered during arrival checks. ​ Changes to improve clarity and consistency ​ Appendix English Language Six new routes have been added to the list which can meet the English language requirement through having a GCSE, A level, Scottish National Qualification at level 4 or 5 or Scottish Higher or Advanced Higher in English. The new routes are: Appendix Representative of an Overseas Business Appendix T2 Minister of Religion Appendix UK Ancestry, Appendix Global Talent, Appendix Domestic Workers in a Private Household and Appendix Hong Kong British National (Overseas). Appendix Returning Resident This route is being simplified with a new Returning Resident Appendix. This Appendix is being added to simplify and replace other paragraphs in the immigration rules. ​ Appendix Tuberculosis Appendix Tuberculosis will now replace Appendix T and other provisions elsewhere in the rules around tuberculosis testing. This is another part of the simplification of the rules exercise.

Updated Character Guide for British Citizenship......

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The British Nationality Act (BNA 1981) contains a good character requirement, which applies to certain applications for registration as a British citizen and naturalisation as a British citizen for those over 10 years old at the date of application.

The good character requirement previously only applied to applications for British citizenship by naturalisation, but in 2010 this was extended to other routes to British citizenship.

Definition of Good Character

The BNA 1981 does not provide a definition of good character, and therefore each application must be considered individually. The decision maker must be satisfied that an applicant is of good character requirement on the balance of probabilities. Applicants will therefore want to carefully consider information to include in their application to demonstrate they meet the requirement.

Generally the following key areas will be assessed and considered:

  • Criminality;

  • International crimes, terrorism and other non-conducive activity;

  • Financial soundness;

  • Notoriety;

  • Deception and dishonesty;

  • Immigration-related matters; and

  • Deprivation.

UK to increase Visa Fees
UK Visa fees rise from 4th October 2023

Significant increases to immigration and nationality fees are set to come into effect at 9am on 4 October 2023, following legislation laid in Parliament this week.

The new Immigration and Nationality (Fees) (Amendment) (No. 2) Regulations 2023 makes many changes to Home Office fees, including a 15% increase in the cost of most work and visit visas, and an increase of at least 20% in the cost of priority visas, study visas and Certificates of Sponsorship.

These changes do not include the planned increase to the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) which will be introduced at a later date, yet to be confirmed. The IHS is set to increase by 66% to £1,035 a year. The legal process for this takes longer and may not be completed until 2024.

Why are immigration and visa fees rising?

People who want a visa, permission to stay or citizenship in the UK usually have to pay for it. Fees have risen significantly over the past 20 years. Until 2003, the UK charged nothing at all for visa extensions, work permits and settlement. Fees for initial visas and citizenship were relatively modest. For example, a student visa cost £33.

Today, visa application fees are much higher and the government has introduced additional costs for some migrants and sponsors, such as the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) and the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC).

The further increases being introduced in October have been strongly opposed by many migrants and businesses who say that fees are already too high. Total upfront immigration costs in the UK are higher than those in many other countries, including Canada, Germany, France and the USA, according to a 2021 report published by the Royal Society.

The UK government deliberately charges above the cost of processing applications to help fund the wider borders and immigration system. However, the latest fee increases are being introduced to allow more funding to be prioritised for public sector pay rises.

Work visas

Visa application fees on work routes are increasing by 15%. In some cases, a proportionally lower fee increase is being made to ensure that the new fee is within the bounds of fee maxima that were in force at the time the increases were agreed.

For example, a three-year Skilled Worker visa will cost £719 for overseas applicants or £827 for in-country applicants, an increase of 15% in both cases. For Skilled Worker applications where a CoS has been issued for over three years, it will cost £1,420 for overseas applicants (+15%) or £1,500 for in-country applicants (+5%).

Fees for other sponsored work visas, including all categories under the Global Business Mobility (GBM) route and the Scale-up route will also rise by 15%.

Study and post-study visas

The fee for applying for a Student or a Child Student visa from outside the UK will increase from £363 to £490 (+35%), to equal the amount charged for in-country applications.

The fee to apply for a Graduate visa will rise from £715 to £822, representing a cost increase of 15%.

Visit visas

Fees for most visit visas are also increasing by 15%. From 4 October 2023, a Standard Visitor visa for those visiting the UK for up to six months will cost £115, up from the current £100. Fees for 2, 5 and 10-year visit visas will also increase, to £400, £771 and £963 respectively.

No changes are being made to the fees for transit visas.

Sponsorship fees

The changes will introduce a 19-20% increase to fees charged for Certificates of Sponsorship (CoS) and Confirmations of Acceptance of Studies (CAS), which have not previously been increased since 2016. The new fees are as follows:

  • CoS allocation fees

    • Worker routes: £239 (up from £199)

    • Temporary Worker routes: £25 (up from £21)

  • CAS allocation fee: £25 (up from £21).

No changes are being made at this stage to the sponsor licence application fees, the sponsor priority services or to the Immigration Skills Charge (ISC).

Nationality and settlement fees

Changes are also being made to the application fees for settlement and citizenship, with the new fees as follows:

  • Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) – main applicants and dependants: £2,885 (+20%)

  • Naturalisation (British citizenship) – £1,500 (+20%)

Priority services

Fees charged for Priority Visa and Super Priority Visa services are also being equalised for customers applying in and out of country. From 4 October, the fees for each service will be as follows:

  • Priority service – £500

  • Super Priority service – £1,000.

Advice for applicants


If you are looking to apply for a UK visa this autumn, it may cost more than you were expecting.

Where possible, we recommend preparing and submitting your application ahead of the rise on 4 October if you want to benefit from the current lower fees


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