26 June 2018
In the latest statement of changes to the immigration rules, the UK Home Office has introduced a new indefinite leave to remain (ILR) route for Turkish business people under the European Communities Accession Agreement (ECAA or the Ankara Agreement) and their families. This will come into force on 6th July 2018. The new ILR route will recognise time spent as either an ECAA business person or as a worker (or equivalent points-based system status), as long as the most recent period of leave was under the ECAA. Other eligibility criteria include five years continuous residence in the UK and sufficient knowledge of the English language and life in the UK.
Dependent children will be granted ILR in line with the main applicant, regardless of how long they have been resident in the UK, while spouses and partners will require five years residence before qualifying for ILR. However, they will be able to apply for further leave to remain of up to three years to allow them to reach five years continuous residence (in line with dependents under the Points Based System).
Background Under the ECAA, Turkish workers can apply for leave to remain in the UK as either:
A Turkish worker who has worked legally in the UK as a work permit holder, or as the spouse of a British or settled person, or as a student allowed to work up to 20 hours a week in term time and full time during vacation periods; or A Turkish business person wishing to establish a new business or join an existing business. In 2017 the Upper Tribunal, in the case of Aydogdu v SSHD (JR/15737/2015), found that the settlement of Turkish nationals and their dependants did not fall within the scope of a provision of the ECAA, called the ‘standstill clause’. While the Home Office examined the implications of the decision, ECAA ILR applications continued to be processed.
On 16th March 2018, the Home Office updated its guidance on leave to remain applications for Turkish businesspeople under the ECAA. From that date, no new applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the ECAA business persons category were accepted.