The ‘10-year route to settlement’ (10YRS) was introduced by the Home Office in 2012 for grants of leave to remain to otherwise undocumented individuals who cannot meet the requirements of other immigration rules but whose removal would breach their rights to private or family life. The policy requires such an individual to apply for ‘limited leave to remain’ (LLTR) every 30 months and to spend at least 10 years with LLTR before they can be considered for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) (also known as ‘settled status’). Assuming no increase in fees, such an individual would have to spend £12,761 in immigration fees before they would be eligible for ILR.
A number of judicial review claims were brought by young people on the 10YRS, who had each spent at least half of their lives living in the UK. In each case they challenged the individual refusal to grant them ILR and the Home Office policy that ILR would only be granted in ‘truly exceptional’ cases. The claimants relied on evidence of the negative impact of the 10YRS on them and other young people. A number of them were supported by the migrant youth-led organisation, We Belong, who provided evidence in support of the challenge.
On Tuesday 26 October 2021, the Home Office announced a major policy concession (here) in relation to the 10YRS, the effect of which is that all young people of 18-24 who have lived in the UK for at least half of their lives need spend only 5 years with LLTR before they can be granted ILR. The Home Office has separately agreed that, in the light of this concession, all the claimants are to be granted ILR and has invited them to withdraw their claims on terms that are currently under consideration.
Paul Bowen QC (leading Michelle Knorr and Zoe Harper of Doughty Street Chambers) represents the applicants in the judicial review proceedings, instructed by Islington Law Centre and the Migrant and Refugee Children’s Legal Unit (MiCLU).