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14 year rule for the chop?


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It looks like the 14 year rule may be for the chop. See this question and answer from Prime Ministers Questions yesterday:

Mr Hollobone: … Under rules introduced in 2003, illegal migrants who manage to avoid the authorities for 14 years can apply for permanent stay, have full access to the welfare system and even obtain a British passport. Given that in the past eight years nearly 10,000 such migrants have won such rights, and with an estimated half a million illegal immigrants in Britain today, will the Prime Minister seek to change those rules and restore some sanity to Britain’s border controls?

The Prime Minister: My hon. Friend makes an important point. We have pledged to break the link between temporary migration and permanent settlement in the UK because we believe that settling in Britain should be a privilege, rather than an automatic right for those who have evaded the authorities for a certain amount of time. We are going to consult on further measures, including the future of the 14-year rule he mentioned, and make announcements later this year. We have already announced that there will be tighter rules for those wanting to settle here and have already implemented a new income and English language requirement for skilled workers who have been here for more than five years.

This news will not come as a total surprise to anyone familiar with the direction of immigration policy at the moment. The Government has realised that there is no magic wand that can be waved and that will reduce migration by the amount foolishly pledged, at least without doing serious damage to the economy. Instead, they are having to pull every small lever they can find to reduce the numbers a little bit here and there: the quota for students, abolishing Tier 1 (General), imposing and increasing language requirements across the board, increasing the minimum skills and salary levels under the Points Based System, preventing settlement for those with any sort of criminal record and so on. The long residence rules are an obvious target.

There is no consultation out on this that I am familiar with – has anyone else seen anything?

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The Free Movement blog was founded in 2007 by Colin Yeo, a barrister at Garden Court Chambers specialising in immigration law. The blog provides updates and commentary on immigration and asylum law by a variety of authors.


4 Responses

  1. I’m not sure whether the number the government has said to reduce migration to is impossible to achieve. At the end of the day it is simply the net migration they are pledging to reduce so it’s not the numbers that would migrate to the UK, but more like the number migrating to the UK minus the number immigrating out plus the migrants that leave the UK each year. Each time a graph or chart is made on net migration numbers they seem to only include number of migrants coming to the UK compared to numbers of British people migrating abroad, making it seem impossible to reduce net migration to tens and thousands. It seems they have forgotten or cannot track the number of migrants that leaves the UK too to include in the number of people leaving the UK which would drastically reduce the net migration number.

  2. “Given that in the past eight years nearly 10,000 such migrants have won such rights…”

    So that is approx 1200 a year on average. So less than 1% of all migrants awarded ILR in that period.

    Many of those 1200 a year are already on an alternative route to ILR eg. DLR, Asylum, and many can’t be deported due to ECHR, Zambrano. The 80 20 rule springs to mind as to the effectiveness of the PMQ proposal. If there is a consultation (a waste of resources) I predict it will conclude the 14 year route numbers are too small.

    NB – the UK passport takes a further five years (19 in total) unless FLR had already been obtained, or is married to a UK citizen.

  3. Surely the 14 year “concession” goes back to 1969. NIA 2002 brought the concession into the rules by not allowing appeals.

  4. somewhat concerned about this news. There are FNs who have resided in the UK legally for many years, but for one reason or another do not have a valid passport to prove this. They have used the 14 year rule simply as a means to obtain the ILR stamped into their first passport since they arrived here in the 50s 60s and 70s.