Changes To Settlement Applications

11th March 2011

In November 2010 the Home Secretary set out the Governments intention to restrict settlement (indefinite leave to remain) and to end the link between temporary migration and staying in the UK permanently.

The UK Border Agency will consult during the course of 2011 on reforms to the law on settlement, however from April 2011 there will be a preliminary tightening of the settlement rules.

Those making applications for leave to enter the UK or further leave to remain in an alternative immigration route on or after 6 April 2011 must be aware that the opportunity to apply for settlement and the requirements for such applications may change once the consultation has concluded.

Preliminary changes to settlement rules from April 2011

Rules and guidance that will come into effect from April 2011 will make changes in three areas. These are:-

Income requirement

UKBA will introduce a new income requirement for Tier 1 (General), Tier 2 (General) and work permit holders applying for settlement.

The income requirement will enable applicants to prove that they have taken skilled or highly skilled work in the UK. In addition, it will establish that they have received the salary that was indicated on their work permit or Certificate of Sponsorship. When applying for settlement, the rules will impose the following requirements:-

  • Tier 1 (General) migrants will need to score points against the same criteria as their last application in respect of previous earnings;
  • Tier 2 (General) and work permit migrants will need to be paid the appropriate salary for the occupation as set out in the relevant Code of Practice for sponsored skilled workers.

English language

Applicants for settlement under Tier 1, Tier 2 and work permit arrangements will be only able to meet the knowledge and life in the UK requirement by completing the Life in the UK Test. They will no longer be able to rely on taking an English for speakers of other languages (ESOL) with citizenship course. This will ensure that all applications meet at least English level B1 (Council of Europe).

Criminality Test

All migrants will have to be free of unspent convictions when applying for settlement. Those who are not, and who have no other legitimate basis of stay in the UK, will be expected to leave the UK.

For further information please contact us at: or on 020 7495 3003