How to calculate ‘Absences’ under the 10-years Long Residence route for Indefinite Leave to Remain

Examples of our successful clients’ cases:

* A junior doctor who has spent 11 years in the UK, however her absences exceeded the permitted 540 days throughout the 10 years. The Home Office accepted our request to exercise discretion and deduct the summer holiday months she spent completing her university electives in Africa.

* A client who has spent 10 years in the UK, however he had a single trip abroad of over 6 months. We persuaded the Home Office to exercise discretion so that the continuous residence was not broken, as he had to travel home urgently to deal with a series of family and medical matters.

We frequently encounter clients who have accumulated long residence in the UK having lived here under various visa categories. The basic requirements sound simple enough:

  1. you must have at least 10 years continuous lawful residence in the UK
  2. no reason why granting leave is against the public good
  3. you must meet the knowledge of language and life requirement
  4. you must not fall for refusal under the general grounds for refusal
  5. you must not be in breach of immigration laws

Calculating Absences

What happens when you have accumulated 10 years of stay, but your total absences from the UK exceed the permitted 540 days?

However, we find that clients often get caught out by the ‘Continuous residence’ rule, where it would be broken where you have:

  • been absent from the UK for a period of more than 6 months at any one time (180 days)
  • spent a total of 18 months outside the UK throughout the whole 10 years period (540 days)
  • left the UK before 24 November 2016 with no valid leave to remain on their departure from the UK, and failed to apply for entry clearance within 28 days of their previous leave expiring (even if they returned to the UK within 6 months

From our experience, it can be tricky for those who love to travel or who have spent their 3 months’ summer holidays abroad when studying. Many fall victims to spending long holidays in their home countries even though they have clear intentions to come back to the UK to their education or work.

The guidance stipulates that if continuous leave is broken, an application should normally be refused. Nevertheless, we have been successful in arguing that our clients’ excessive absences were due to compelling or compassionate circumstances. We submitted legal arguments on whether:

  • the client returned to the UK within a reasonable time once they were able to do so
  • the absences were towards the start of that 10 years’ period rather than occurring recently, unless of course there were seriously exceptional reasons

Furthermore, consideration ought to be given the Public Interest, Age, Strength of Connections in the UK, Personal History, Domestic Circumstances, Compassionate Circumstances and Representations Made. Therefore, it is absolutely important that your lawyers presents legal Representations regarding your assets, dependents, community or charity work you have in the UK.

In fact, several QC Immigration’s lawyers have secured ILR through this 10-years Long Residence route themselves. Therefore, we thoroughly understand your complicated circumstances and will be happy to share our experiences. Contact us to find out!

Useful links:

Home Office website

SET(LR) application form

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