November 28

How to obtain Leave to Remain under UK Private Life Route

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How to obtain Leave to Remain in the UK under the Private Life Route

In order to obtain leave to remain in the UK under the Private Life Route, you will need to meet the suitability and eligibility requirements under the Immigration Rules Appendix Private Life. The consideration for leave to remain in the UK under the Private Life Route is not straightforward as the UK Home Office makes an assessment of your application for leave to remain under the Private Life Route both under the Immigration Rules but also under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (Article 8 ECHR). It is important for your Private Life application to be successful that it is prepared by an experienced immigration lawyer who can ensure that all the requirements are met. Our Immigration Solicitors and Barristers can help you prepare a successful application for leave to remain under the Private Life Route.

What is Leave to Remain under the Private Life Route?

An application for Leave to Remain under the Private Life Route is made by persons in the UK that have acquired the right to stay in the UK on the basis of their private and family life that they have maintained during their stay in the UK.

This right at law is found in Article 8 ECHR, which is general right that provides everyone with the right to respect for their private and family life, their home and their correspondence and that a public authority, such as the UK Home Office should not interfere with this right in certain limited circumstances.

It is important to note that the right under Article 8 ECHR is a qualified right and a balancing exercise is usually undertaken between a person’s right to respect for their private and family life on the one hand and the UK Secretary of State for the Home Department’s right under the public interest in safeguarding the economic well-being of the UK by controlling immigration.   

Which are the Eligibility Requirements for Leave to Remain under the Private Life Route?

The eligibility requirements for Leave to Remain under the Private Life Route are as follows:

  • Leave to Remain for a Child under the Private Life Route: In order for a child to be eligible for leave to remain under the Private Life Route, the child application must have been continuously resident in the UK for at least 7 years and it would not be reasonable to expect the child application to leave the UK.
  • Leave to Remain for a Young Adult under the 25 years old under the Private Life Route: Where the applicant is a young adult aged between 18 and 24 years old at the date of the application and had entered the UK a child under 18 years, the applicant would be eligible for leave to remain under the Private Life Route where the applicant has spent half of their life continuously resident in the UK.
  • Leave to Remain for an Adult aged 25 years or over under the Private Life Route: For an adult aged 25 years or over to be eligible to apply for the leave to remain under the Private Life Route, they would need to show either:
  • They have been continuously resident in the UK for a period of 20 years or more; or
  • Where they have not been resident in the UK for at least 20 years, there would be very significant obstacles to their integration into the country where they would have to live if required to leave the UK.

If you are unsure about whether you are eligible for leave to remain under the Private Life Route, you may want to speak to our expert immigration lawyers for legal advice.

When does your Continuous Residence in the UK break or does not qualify for Leave to Remain?  

Your continuous residence in the UK breaks or does not qualify for leave to remain under the Private Life Route in the following circumstances:

  • Time spent in prison or detained in an institution other than a prison: any time spent serving a sentence in prison or during detention in an institution other than a prison does not count towards your continuous residence in the UK for leave to remain under the Private Life Route.
  • Absent from the UK for more than 6 months at any one time: If you have been absent from the UK for more than 6 months at any one time, your continuous residence in the UK is considered broken and you may not qualify for leave to remain under the Private Life Route.
  • Absences from the UK for a total period of 550 days or more: If you have been absence from the UK for a total period of 550 days or more, your continuous residence in the UK is considered broken and you may not qualify for leave to remain under the Private Life Route.
  • Removal, deportation or voluntary departure from the UK: If you have been removed, deported or you had voluntary left the UK with no reasonable expectation of lawfully returning to the UK within a short period of time, your continuous residence in the UK is considered broken and you may not qualify for leave to remain under the Private Life Route.  

If you are unsure about whether your continuous residence in the UK is broken and that you qualify for leave to remain under the Private Life Route, you may want to speak to our expert immigration lawyers for legal advice.

Considering the Very Significant Obstacles Test under the recent legal authorities of Kamara, Treebhawon and Parveen

It is no surprise that the very significant obstacles test for adults over the age of 25 who have been continuously resident in the UK for less than 20 years is a high threshold test where most applications for leave to remain under the Private Life Route fail.

It is therefore important to look at the main legal authorities on the very significant obstacles test to understand how it may be met:

“the concept of…”integration”…is a broad one. It is not confined to the mere ability to find a job or to sustain life while living in the other country. It is not appropriate to treat the statutory language as subject to some gloss and it will usually be sufficient for a court or tribunal simply to direct itself in the terms that Parliament has chosen to use.”

“The idea of “integration” calls for a broad evaluative judgment to be made as to whether the individual will be enough of an insider in terms of understanding how life in the society in that other country is carried on and a capacity to participate in it, so as to have a reasonable opportunity to be accepted there, to be able to operate on a day-to-day basis in that society and to build up within a reasonable time a variety of human relationships to give substance to the individual’s private or family life.

“The question is whether there would be ” very significant obstacles” to his reintegration in Mauritius…The other limb of the test, ” very significant obstacles”, erects a self-evidently elevated threshold, such that mere hardship, mere difficulty, mere hurdles and mere upheaval or inconvenience, even where multiplied, will generally be insufficient in this context. The philosophy and reasoning, with appropriate adjustments, of this Tribunal in its exposition of the sister test “unduly harsh” in MK (Sierra Leone) [2015] UKUT 223 at [46] apply…

“The finding that Mr Treebhawon’s case does not satisfy the test…If required to leave the United Kingdom, his future will lie in the country of his birth where he has spent most of his life (33 of his 46 years). He is an educated, evidently intelligent man with a command of all of the languages commonly used in Mauritius. He is plainly familiar with the culture of the country. There is no apparent reason why he will be unable to renew certain relationships and friendships and develop others. He has overcome ill health and is now fit for work, albeit we accept that finding employment will not be easy. He has maintained some contact with his mother and sister and we refer to our finding above that, as a matter of probability, he and his children will return to the mother’s home where they lived previously. In sum, the “very significant obstacles” test is not satisfied by some measure.

“I have to say that I do not find that a very useful gloss on the words of the rule. It is fair enough to observe that the words “very significant” connote an “elevated” threshold, and I have no difficulty with the observation that the test will not be met by “mere inconvenience or upheaval”. But I am not sure that saying that “mere” hardship or difficulty or hurdles, even if multiplied, will not “generally” suffice adds anything of substance. The task of the Secretary of State, or the Tribunal, in any given case is simply to assess the obstacles to integration relied on, whether characterised as hardship or difficulty or anything else, and to decide whether they regard them as “very significant”…

“The bare assertion that the Appellant has “lost all connections” with Pakistan and has no-one there who can support her is plainly insufficient. In the first place, it is prima facie surprising that she should have lost all connections with Pakistan. I accept that it is not impossible, but if it is indeed the case the Secretary of State was entitled to expect some particularised explanation of how it had come about, and why, in consequence, she would face such problems on return.”

“It would be important to know about her life in Pakistan before she came to this country, where she lived, what family and friends she had, whether she worked and what her educational or other qualifications were. It would also be important to know what had become of her family and friends and how, despite what the Secretary of State tends to call “modern methods of communication”, she had lost touch with them.”

“Nothing of this kind was provided in the original application, nor indeed has it been provided at any stage in the course of the litigation. Without it, the Secretary of State was in my opinion justified in finding that the Appellant had not demonstrated the existence of very significant obstacles to (re-)integration in Pakistan.

The above cases on the Very Significant Obstacles test demonstrate that there is high threshold in persuading the Secretary of State and the Courts to find that the Very Significant Obstacles test is met for a successful leave to remain application under the Private Life Route.

It is therefore very important for such leave to remain applications to be properly prepared with detailed submissions and evidence showing how the Very Significant Obstacles test is met.

Our Immigration Solicitors and Barristers thoroughly and meticulously prepare your leave to remain application under the Private Life Route, so that your application for leave to remain under the Private Life Route has the best chance of success.

Make an application for leave to remain under the Private Life Route with OneLaw Chambers

At OneLaw Chambers, our Immigration Solicitors and Barristers regularly assist with Immigration and Visa applications in order for applicants to relocate to and settle in the UK.  We have assisted many foreign nationals to prepare and submit successful Immigration and Visa applications and we have represented clients from all over the world. We are well equipped to prepare and submit your leave to remain application under the Private Life Route.

Whether you require expert immigration advice on the requirements of the Immigration Rules, an independent immigration assessment of your prospects of qualifying for leave to remain under the Private Life Visa Route or professional immigration representation with preparing your leave to remain application under the Private Life Route, our Immigration Solicitors and Barristers can help you.

We are committed to ensuring that our Immigration Solicitors and Barristers prepare every immigration visa application with utmost quality and skill so that a successful outcome is achieved every time. Our Immigration Solicitors and Barristers operate in a friendly and cooperative manner to provide our clients with the best client care and service during the entire immigration application process.


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