From 11 January 2018, the absence requirements for Points-Based System migrants wishing to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) were tightened. The new rules allow the Home Office to look at any 12 month period across the 5 year period immediately preceding the ILR application. This means that if an applicant has been absent for more than 180 days in any 12 month period, their application will be rejected unless there are compelling circumstances for the absence. This could cause particular difficulties for those who wish to settle in the UK but frequently travel outside the UK (on business or otherwise). The Home Office intends to apply this new rule retrospectively. PBS dependants will also need to meet the same absence requirements when applying for ILR, but this will not be applied retrospectively. 

However, it is still unclear how exactly absences will be calculated over the 5 year period. It is likely to be administratively burdensome for applicants who travel frequently, as well as for the Home Office. In the meantime, anyone looking to apply for ILR should consider their absences from the UK carefully and ensure they maintain a detailed record. 

See our blog for further information on the changes.