An application for permission to stay in the UK can be made based on a child’s residence here. The application can be made within the Immigration Rules where the child has 7 years’ residence or outside the Immigration Rules where their residence is less than the 7 year threshold.

It will often be in a child’s best interests to remain in the UK. Many children will have been born here or have come to the UK as infants and will be settled at school and have a circle of friends.

Immigration law requires a decision maker to take the child’s best interest into account in taking any decision which impacts on the child. However, this factor has to be weighed against the interests of immigration control.

Under a previous policy, known as DP5-96, where a child had been resident in the UK for 7 years, they and their families could secure indefinite leave to remain status. This policy was abolished in 2008 and cases after this date were considered on an individual basis with no set minimum residence period.

However, as part of the Appendix FM overhaul to the Immigration Rules, the 7 year residence rule was partially re-introduced. In line with the current tough immigration climate, the rule now is much harder to satisfy and having a child with 7 years’ residence is no longer enough to secure status for that child and the rest of the family.

In order to be successful, where the application involves a child with the 7 year residence qualifying period, it must also be demonstrated that it would not be “reasonable” to expect the child to leave the UK.

Assessing what is reasonable is, of course, a subjective assessment. Unfortunately, Home Office case-workers’ views on what is reasonable are very different from the views of immigration practitioners and their clients.

Decision makers impose a very high threshold in assessing reasonableness. Their starting point is almost always that the child’s best interests are best served by remaining in the family unit and all things being equal, even for a child who has been here for 7 years, this will often mean returning to their country of origin.

It is very important that these types of applications are front-loaded and the best possible case presented to the Home Office at the earliest stage together with all relevant evidence from third parties involved in the children’s lives.

These cases often end up before the Immigration Tribunal where an independent Immigration Judge can reach their own assessment on the reasonableness question. Our litigation team are particularly experienced and have had many successes in cases of this type.

The successful child applicant and their dependent family members are granted periods of 2 ½ years at a time and will only qualify for settlement once they have lived in the UK continuously for 10 years on this route.

Experienced Immigration Lawyers

We have been helping clients solve their personal immigration problems for over 25 years. To find out if we can assist you and then to arrange an initial fixed fee consultation, contact our experienced team in either Edinburgh or Glasgow.
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