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Ten years’ continuous lawful residence settlement – stricter rules

Many readers will be aware of the ten years’ continuous lawful residence route to settlement. Unlike other settlement schemes, this route allows migrants to combine completely different types of leave together – for example working visas and family visas. If they can show a ten-year period of continuous lawful residence, and if they meet various other requirements, they can qualify for settlement. 

Historically, any type of lawful immigration leave could count towards the ten-year period: for example leave under European free movements rules or even leave as a visitor. 

But on 13 April the Home Office will – under new immigration rules – be slightly tightening things up: leave held as a visitor, short-term English language student or temporary seasonal worker will no longer qualify.

For many migrants this will not be an issue but for some it might. Suppose, for example, that somebody is hoping to take advantage of the ten-year route at some point in the future and they have a recent period of leave as a short-term English language student. This period of leave will no longer count towards the ten-year period and of course this would be a problem: the continuous ten-year period would be broken.

If you have any questions or issues about this area we will be able to advise you. 


Oliver Westmoreland

Senior Immigration Lawyer