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I recently revealed that the UK Border Agency (UKBA) has launched a new privately run immigration database to track down 150,000 UK visa overstayers.

14 year long stay concession is finished – you now need 20 years or 10 years legal stay!

Many ‘TNT’s’ (a Filipino slang for visa overstayers) are holding on in the hope of qualifying for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) or permanent residence (PR) under the ‘14 year long stay rule’, which no longer applies following recent changes to the Immigration Rules on 9 July 2012.

The 14 year rule was a type of amnesty which, subject to certain conditions, meant you could be granted ILR even if you have been in the UK illegally.  

Although the automatic 14 years long residence rule has been abolished, paragraph 276D of the Rules does allow for a person to be granted leave to remain on the grounds of ‘private life’ on the basis of long residence in the UK.

If you have overstayed you need to look at your circumstances in more detail. For instance: Are you in a relationship with a British or EEA national? Do have a child who has lived in the UK for more than 5 years? Would your life be in danger if you were forced to return to your country?

Under the 1981 British Nationality Act, children who were born in the UK and have lived in the UK for more than 10 years (even if the parents were here illegally) can apply for British Citizenship.

The rules have also changed the way applications from visa overstayers will be treated after 1 October. Applications from those who have overstayed their leave by 28 days will be automatically refused.

The 10 year lawful long residence rule still applies, for instance where a student has been legally studying in the UK for 10 years and has no criminal convictions or civil judgments such as County Court Judgments (CCJ).

A CCJ or conviction for not paying your fare on the train could come back to haunt you when making an immigration application for FLR, ILR or marriage – especially if they are not disclosed on the application.

Each case is different and you should seek advice from a qualified immigration adviser who has dealt with applications from overstayers, ‘outside the rule’ cases and human rights article 8 appeal. If you in a relationship or have a child with an EEA national you may apply under more favourable EEA rules.

If you need any immigration advice or are worried about the new immigration rules or need help with Sponsorship or Tier 2, Tier 4, applying for university if your college has closed down, Visa, ILR, Settlement, Citizenship, Dependant Visa or an appeal against a UK Border Agency or British Embassy refusal, or if you have been waiting for a reply from the Home Office for longer than a year, please email: or visit for free immigration news updates.

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Cynthia Barker is an Immigration Adviser and Co Author of the book: How 2 Come to the UK to Live Work Study or Visit. Cynthia writes a regular immigration column for Planet Philippines and Europhil Journal.

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  1. Lex Luther says :

    I have lived here for 16yrs. I applied for ilr to remain after 14yrs before the changes. I have 2 children with british parent. I came on a 2yr student visa and overstayed. I applied for 14yrs residency and having children in the uk. My application was denied and asked to leave. In those years i have done corporate work earning 100k to 150k a yr which i showed proof. I pay tax on that income. On paper i stand a better chance but was denied so i am having to go for a judicial review

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