The private life route is for a person wishing to stay in the UK because they have spent a significant period living here. It is a long process to gain some sort of security if a person is relying on their private life. One example is someone who has lived in the UK illegally for twenty years before they can apply on this route. If they are successful, it will take another ten years before they are ‘settled’ and permanently allowed to live here.
Recently, the government made changes to the private life rules in relation to children and young adults who arrived in the UK as children, without permission to stay. Young people will be able to apply to get Indefinite Leave to Remain or ‘settlement’ after five years instead of ten years. This move recognises that these young people did not make a conscious choice to move to the UK, it was the adults around them who brought them here and did not take steps to obtain legal immigration status.
The Home Office says that these children and young adults:
‘Are likely to have been educated in the UK, have well-developed English language skills, and have integrated into life in the UK. The shorter 5-year route to settlement, provides the child or young adult with necessary certainty and security on their immigration status.’
We have seen young people who have gone through secondary education without problem, but then cannot get work or enter further study because they cannot show that they have the right to live in the UK. Suddenly their lives are turned upside down, and they find themselves facing years of uncertainty before they can truly call the UK their permanent home. These new measures will make a difference, but who will benefit from the new rules?
Young people who fall into the two categories can apply for permission to stay, initially on private life grounds. They can choose whether to apply for permission which lasts 30 or 60 months. After 60 months on this route, they can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain. This cuts their route to settlement by half.
This is a sensible move. These children and young people consider the UK to be their home. It is often the only home they can remember. It is right they should be welcomed as permanent residents at a much earlier stage.
Contact our team if you or your children fall into one of the two categories above.