If you’ve relocated to London for education or career purposes, then you’d find it hard to leave this bustling city. Most people who visit the London simply fall in love with this place, so much that they wish to stay here forever. So if you feel the same way, then you are not alone. London, the city of dreams is definitely one of the hardest places to leave.
If you study in the UK, then you most probably know that soon after your course is over, you need to get a job and also a visa sponsorship. That’s how you can continue to stay in the UK. You need to get hired by a reliable and trusted company — one that is capable of, and is willing to sponsor your Tier 2 General Visa. Also, companies can only hire expats for a job that no other British citizen can do in a better manner. Now, that’s a smart way of ensuring that the British citizens don’t lose out on employment opportunities, as against expats. Let us now discuss some of the important aspects connected to British citizenship.
Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK
The most common term that British citizenship aspirants get to hear is the ‘Indefinite Leave to Remain’ or the ILR. This is crucial to getting your British citizenship, and once you have the ILR, you are half way through. Then all you need to do is hold your ILR for the next 12 months, and then apply for a British citizenship. So, the biggest hurdle that you need to cross is the ILR, and that is what we shall focus on.
How to get an ILR?
The answer to this question depends upon the type of visa that you currently hold. In other words, there are different rules that govern those with different types of visas. Broadly speaking, there are two routes to qualify for an ILR — the 5 year route and the 10 year route. We shall now discuss the ones that are most relevant to those who have relocated to the UK for education or career purposes.
The General Route
If you are working in the UK and are on a Tier 2 General Visa, then that’s good for 5 years and 14 days, maximum. However, if you wish to stay in the UK beyond that period, then you need to apply for an ILR. Doing that is easier said than done, because unless you hold the same Tier 2 General visa for 5 continuous years, your only option is the 10 year route.
So make sure that you are hired by a reputed company, with lower attrition rate. Also, the 10 year route requires you to stay in the UK for a continuous period of 10 years, although you may do so on different visas. Also, 540 days is the maximum time that you can spend away from the UK during this entire 10 year period. Finally, you must not have stayed outside the UK for 180 days or more, at a stretch, during this period.
Speed things up with Tier 1 Exceptional Talent Visa
The Exceptional Talent Visa puts you on the fastrack to ILR because you need to stay in the UK for only 3 years with that visa, to become eligible to apply for an ILR. However, getting this visa is not easy because you need to have solid recommendations, and fall under the ‘Exceptional Talent’ category. Let’s say you qualify but fall under the ‘Exceptional Promise’ category — then you need to wait for 5 years before you can apply for an ILR.
Kids and ILR Eligibility
If you’ve been working in the UK long enough to be eligible to apply for an ILR, then it is most likely that you have a family. If you are not sure of how the paperwork goes for them, then here’s some useful information. Those having unmarried and dependent kids aged below 18 years, need not worry much about their ILR Eligibility status. Kids have the same status as their parents do.
So if you qualify for it, then so do they, just make sure that all of you apply at the same time. That’s because if you got your ILR before them, then your kids’ dependent visa would go for a toss. This is something that you need to focus on, even if your kids are really young because if your kids get an ILR, they don’t have to go through the grind that you did, to get a British citizenship. Also, they can skip paying the heavy international student fees at the Universities, if they get their citizenship early.
With an ILR, you begin to enjoy most of the benefits that the British citizens are entitled to. You no longer have to hold a visa to stay in the UK, and can travel abroad as many times as you please. Also, you gain access to public healthcare, and several other benefits meant exclusively for citizens. After holding your ILR for 12 months, and staying in the UK without any breaks, you can apply for your British Citizenship.