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Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill could become Law next week | Immigration Matters

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The UK Government’s plan lengthen the period immigrants must live in the U.K. before applying for citizenship may become law next week after backing down on stricter passport checks between Britain and Ireland yesterday.

The Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill cleared its final stage in the House of Commons this week with the support of both the Conservative and Liberal Democrat opposition parties. The Labour government had climbed down plans to impose identity checks on journeys between the U.K. and Ireland.

The House of Lords could grant final approval to the legislation on July 21, allowing the measures to go on the statutes, and receive the Royal Assent, as the Borders, Immigration and Citizenship Act 2009, before Parliament enters its summer recess, a spokesman for the Home Office said today.

The rules are part of the biggest curbs on migration in six decades and will make it much harder for working migrants to settle in the UK.

See: Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill will make it harder to settle in the UK

Border and Immigration Minister Phil Woolas said in the House of Commons last night.

“That makes a reality of the pledge to ensure that those who wish to become British citizens earn the right,”

All parties support the central pillar of the bill, which will extend the basic period of residence in the U.K. needed to qualify for citizenship to eight years from five for people on work permits.

Those with a family connection to a British national will need to spend five years in the U.K. instead of three. Applicants can shave two years off their wait by doing approved volunteer work.

What we are seeing is the culmination of Britain’s reversal of its open policy on migration, following public concerns since 2004 when Poland and seven other eastern European nations joined the European Union.

European freedom-of-movement laws mean Britain has little power to control arrivals from inside the EU, but can restrict non-EU migrants, including those already in the UK.

The Government has almost completed implementation the Australian-style points-based system for people entering Britain from outside the EU, with the final phase of Tier 4 due to start in September.

The Government gave in to Conservative demands to phase in the new system over a longer period, allowing many people now in the country to apply under the current rules.

The new citizenship rules will take effect no earlier than July 2011. People who have permanent residency at that time, or Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR), will be able to apply under the old rules for the next two years.

Phil Woolas wanted to bring in the new measures more quickly and leave details about the transitional arrangements for an executive order sometime after the legislation was enacted.

 “We should pay tribute to him for retreating on the retrospection clauses,” Damian Green, the Conservative spokesman on immigration, said in Parliament. “That is a welcome improvement.”

Immigration Matters Comment

Migrants here on work permits have by any standards been treated poorly by the Labour Government.   

No other western Government gives gainfully employed working migrants, who do the jobs which cannot be filled by resident workers, such a hard time as the British.

Work permit holders, who pay taxes and claim no benefits, have recently been dealt a series of hammer blows by the Labour Government which encouraged them to come to Britain to fill labour shortages.

Firstly, the Home Office changed the qualifying period for ILR from four to five years without warning.

Secondly, restrictions were introduced for major work permit categories such as Nurses Senior Carers and Chefs, forcing thousands out of the UK in 2007/8.

Thirdly, the points based system has forced bewildered employers to register as sponsors in order to renew ‘old rules’ work permits for its overseas workers who fall short of five years work – in some cases by less than a month.

Finally, just when many work permit holders thought they were in sight of the finish line and could see ‘light at the end of the tunnel’, the Home Office put up yet another barrier designed to reduce the numbers of working migrants settling in the UK – restrictions on gaining permanent residency.

When you see light at the end of tunnel, watch out, because it could be the headlight of an oncoming train.

In this case the express train from Westminster is the ‘Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Act special’, and it is set railroad thousands of hardworking migrants out of the UK.

What should you do if you are in the UK on a Work Permit?

Evelie Padadac of Immigration Advisers Bison UK advises migrant workers to “apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain as soon as you are eligible and make sure your current permit takes you beyond five years of continuous work”.

What should you do if you are in the UK under other categories such as ILR?

Apply for Citizenship as soon as you are eligible, unless of course you have no desire to be a British Citizen.

If you do not agree with the above changes, you should write to your MP and ask him or her to write to Phil Woolas to request a longer transitional period.

If you need any immigration advice or help with Settlement, Citizenship, Sponsorship, extending Work Permits, Visa or an appeal against a refusal please email:  or visit

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75 Responses to “Borders, Citizenship and Immigration Bill could become Law next week”
Read them below or add one

  1. Thanks!
    I am very glad to share my ideas about UK ILR.
    Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) allows you to migrate to Britain permanently. It is often referred to as permanent UK residency. As part of this you gain settled status and can apply for British citizenship via naturalisation.

  2. Hi,

    I came to UK in sept 2006 on a work permit and transferred over to Tier 1 General in July 2008. I will completed my 5 years in the UK in Sept 2011.

    Would i be able to apply for ILR and than onto Citizenship or would i have to go through the temporary citizenship route.

  3. You should take professional advice on this matter as it can be a difficult area. Your work permit may in the name of your former employer depending on how the business was taken over.

  4. mrs koshy says :

    Sir i came to UK ON 14 TH OF sept 2006,working as a senior carer with the same employer till now.But my company will be taking over by an other employer soon.what should i do?should i change my work permit or just inform to the home office?what is going to happen TO ME after 5 years ,which is on 14 th of SEPT 2011?CAN I APPLY FOR ILR?

  5. agnes pamintuan-calica says :

    Hi, i am a work permit holder. I came here on NOv. 2005, my visa expires May of 2008. I resigned on my first employer last Feb. 2008. I was a victim of fraud, in the name of Angelique Blin she promised to work for my visa but no work has been done. I stopped working from June to Sept. of 2008. I applied for a new work permit with the help of solicitor, and I was given another 5 years which is until 2013. I had the visa last Nov. 2008. I have 6-7 months gap , when is the best time to apply for my ILR. Thank you very much

  6. You should read the UKBA website and/or take advice before applying for ILR next year.
    See new governments proposals: UK Government to Scrap Earned Citizenship

  7. mery ann danan says :

    hi. mr. kelly just ask i arrived in england july 2006 as work permit holder and stayed in 1 company only and still got it,my work permit expired jully 2011 exactly 5 years in these country. my question is am i affected to these new law matters? when shall i need to apply my indefinit leave to remain? am worried.thanks for your help

  8. I am living in UK from last five year as an illegal can i apply for ILR

  9. Hi Mr Kelly ,
    I am Philippine national, came to the UK in November 2009 as the wife of Mr J. I was granted 24 months leave to remain which will come to an end in November 2011. Mr J has been beating me and I have taken refuge in Northampton Womens’ Aid. Advise me as to whether I would be granted indefinite leave to remain.

  10. Hi,
    I came to UK on May2006 on Work Permit. My visa was valid till 31dec2006. I went back to india on 24th Nov2006. Got my Work permit again stamped on march 2007 and reached uk on 15th March 2007 & staying in uk ever since. I got my Tier1 general stamped on may 2009.
    I am planning to apply for ILR on May 2011.
    1. Will this gap in visa and abscence from uk will effect me adversly?
    2. If yes, would i be able to apply for ILR on March 2012 or because of earned citizenship rules, my minimum tenure in UK should be 8years?

  11. Eli Nikfar says :

    From Reading all the above comments and question & answers I didn’t get one answer which too many people have asked. I came to UK on January 2007, on work permit, my company has changed my visa to a Tier 2 for 2 more years.Can I get my ILR on January 2012 after five year of working or I will fall under the new rule?


  12. marian says :

    i need an advice regarding ilr for students
    i have been studying in uk since june 2003 which i am univesity now i have a good academic record through out .i had 3 years remain to stay beafore and expired in 2005 and apply for extension indefinitive i almost done 7 years in tis country when you going to respond me please so i can finish my education.

    thank u

  13. i need an advice regarding ilr for students
    i have been studying in uk since june 2003 which i am univesity now i have a good academic record through out .i had 3 years remain to stay beafore and expired in 2005 and apply for extension indefinitive i almost done 7 years in tis country when you going to respond me please so i can finish my education.

    thank u

  14. Sorry I meant nov 2010

  15. I have right to abode. If I apply for citizenship by Nov 2011 will I fall under the old rules? Thanx

  16. dear sir
    i qualify for ilr exactly on the 20th of july 2011 under 5 years work permit arrangments

    and on the 20th october 2011 under 10 years long term residency arrangments.

    how will these earned citizenship is going to affect me? because i am living nearly 9 years in this country hoping one day i will get citizenship, these new rules is terribly disappointing.

    can u advice me what should i do

    thank u

  17. i think the rules u r making they are completely unfair to us because when we were granted visa,s we were told how we ll qualify for ilr and now suddenly u hv decided make us sufer more that is just so unfair with us mate.u should rethink change ur decision mate

  18. Emu Hoque says :

    Dear Sir,

    I have got work permit at Oct 2006 for 5 years and I am entitled to apply for ILR at Oct 2011. I heard that new law will be introduced on July 2011 and ILR will be removed.

    Will I be able to apply for ILR according old law? Shall I apply for ILR on June (4 years 8 months)
    Will I be affected by new law which will increase my settlement from 5 years to 8 years.

    I am really worried about this new law. Please let me know about my future.


  19. Michele says :

    Hi I entered the UK August 2006 I am a teacher here, we work hard and put up with some serious abuse. I want to know do the new laws affect me as I will be here for 5 years come August 20th 2011, I am not sure of what i should do. can i apply early for ILR. Help or will I have to prove my elegibility to be a citizen. Im confused at what this means for me

  20. Hi ,

    Can someone help i came uk on workpermit june 2007 and my ILR is due in may 2012,my workpermit says workpermit conditions will remove after 5 year.Can i still get ILR after 5 year or i will fall under new rules.

    Thanks in advance

  21. Hello,
    Any idea on getting British citizenship for those who are on EU route. I am non-EU family member of EU national. EU law says 5 years and then automaticly you get Permanent Residence. So, what are new rules for that?
    thank you

  22. hi there .
    i need an advice regarding ilr for students
    i have been studying in uk since june 2001 i have a good academic record through out .my current visa is expiring on feb 2011 (9yrs and 8 months)will i be eligible to apply for ilr now or at the end of feb 11?

    any advise will be appreciated.thanx

  23. Cyril Bauer says :

    I have an indefinite leave to stay visa but have been out of the country for 8 years due to personal reasons. I would like to return to live and work in the UK and make it my home. Is my Indefinite Leave to Stay still valid. Please let me know asap as I have a job lined up and a national insurance number. I was married to a
    British Citizen but have subsequently divorced.

  24. Hello. I appreciate that the law will come into effect in Jul 10, but if, as a non EU citizen, I have Indefinite Leave to Remain (as from Nov 09) and am married to a British Citizen, will I still be able to apply for full UK Citizenship (Right of Abode) in Nov 10 (i.e. under the ‘old’ rules, rather than those coming into play in Jul 10)? Thank you for any reply.

  25. irfan darsot says :

    i got ILR, so can i applay for citizencip next year?please tell me if law is going to change. and when?

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