Indefinite Leave to Remain is not as Indefinite as You May Think

The recent case of Singaporean national Irene Clennell – who was granted Indefinite Leave to Remain but who was removed after a period of absence from the United Kingdom – has highlighted the immigration pitfalls that still exist even for those with Indefinite Leave to Remain.

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Apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain with LEXVISA London Solicitors

What Happened to Irene Clennell’s Immigration Status in the UK?

Irene Clennell is a Singaporean national who has been married to her British husband, John, for 27 years. The couple settled in County Durham in the north of England, had two children together, and Irene was granted Indefinite Leave to Remain. Her parents in Singapore became ill, however, and she needed to spend time attending to them. According to media accounts, after spending lengthy periods of time outside of the United Kingdom, Irene’s Indefinite Leave to Remain expired, and she was required to enter on visitor visas. After her final visitor visa expired, she was deemed to be unlawfully resident in the United Kingdom, sent to an immigration detention centre in January, and ultimately removed to Singapore.

What is the problem with Indefinite Leave to Remain?

Despite what the name suggests, Indefinite Leave to Remain does not grant unrestricted access to living in the United Kingdom, and there are limitations to the time that can spent outside of the United Kingdom. Article 13(4)(a) of the Immigration (Leave to Enter and Remain) Order 2000 (SI 2000/1161) states that the Indefinite Leave to Remain will lapse if the holder has been outside of the United Kingdom ‘for a continuous period of more than two years.’ It appears that this is what happened in the case Irene Clennell. Once her Indefinite Leave to Remain lapsed due to her absences, she was required to enter the United Kingdom with a different category of leave.

What can I do if I have Indefinite Leave to Remain but need to leave the United Kingdom for more than two years?

Though it might not be practical to do so, entering the United Kingdom for even one day will restart the two year period, ensuring that your Indefinite Leave to Remain does not lapse. If this is not possible, and it is necessary to be absent from the United Kingdom for a continuous period of more than two years, there are other options open. Another option, but perhaps the riskier one, is that under paragraph 19 of the Immigration Rules,  someone who has been absent from the United Kingdom for longer than two years ‘may nevertheless be admitted’ [emphasis added] if he has lived here for most of his life. However, this is reliant on the discretion of the immigration officer and given the Government’s fixation on reducing net migration, relying on the discretion of the immigration officer may not be the best recourse of action.

Using Legal Representation to Apply for an Indefinite Leave to Remain

Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration status. It is possible to instruct an immigration and visa legal representative to submit an Indefinite Leave to Remain application.

Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, all necessary documents must be provided.

This can be a significant administrative task and you will need to submit the correct documentary evidence. The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.

Successful Indefinite Leave to Remain Applications

Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your immigration status and the merit of your visa and immigration application before your matter even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation of your immigration and visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements of the relevant rules.

We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients.  We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.

Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation.

Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.

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