A big misconception we often hear from the public and even from Government ministers is that people can just easily take up the available avenues to regularise their immigration status but they have just not done so.
The fact is that the currently available routes are inaccessible to the overwhelming majority of undocumented people living in the UK who face significant barriers to regularising their status in multiple ways.
In this video we will be looking at some of the ways an undocumented person living in the UK can regularise their status, in addition to highlighting some of the barriers they might experience trying to do so.
So, in no particular order, here are 8 ways to regularise your immigration status if you are undocumented.
– You were born in the UK or came to the UK as a child,
– are currently under the age of 18, and
– you have lived here for 7 years or more, and
– it would be deemed unreasonable to expect you to leave the UK.
Take the hypothetical example of Michael:
Michael came to the UK with his parents at the age of 8, and after his parents lost their permission to stay due an unexpected and unavoidable financial crisis, he and his family have been living undocumented in the UK. He has just turned 16 years old this year. Michael would be able to apply to regularise his immigration status using this route that, for the purposes of this video, we will refer to as number 1.
– You came to the UK as a child or young person, and
– are currently between the age of 18 and 25 years old, and
– you have lived in the UK for half of your life or more.
Take the hypothetical example of Diwata:
At the age of 12, Diwata came to the UK to join her mum. After leaving an exploitative employer, her mum was unable to maintain or secure her immigration status, with the situation making both her and Diwata undocumented. Diwata, not wanting to be separated from her mum who she saw was suffering, decided to remain in the UK to be close to her. After a 7 year period she has passed the age that she could apply with the previously mentioned route number 1, being that she’s now above the age of 18. She would need to wait until she has lived here for more than half of her life – so until she is 24 years old – in order to use this route, that we will refer to as number 2, to regularise her immigration status.
You have lived in the UK for less than 20 years, and
– you are over the age of 18, and
– it would be deemed that you would have significant obstacles to live in the country where you hold citizenship.
Take the hypothetical example of Hakim:
Hakim came to the UK at the age of 18 seeking better prospects. He is now 30 years old. He has been living here for 12 years and, in this time his country of birth has experienced severe economic and political turmoil leading to most of his family either leaving his country of birth or passing away. Hakim has been living in the UK undocumented for 11 of these 12 years. He can apply to try and regularise his immigration status using route number 3 but he would need to prove that he would experience severe challenges if he is returned to his country of birth, for example: having nowhere to live or settle with no family members left there, or not being able to find work or other prospects which might increase his risk to destitution. Proving this would be a big challenge for him having left at the age of 18 and having lived all of his adult life so far in the UK.
– You came to the UK as an adult, and
– have lived here for 20 years or more continuously.
Take the hypothetical example of Fatima:
Fatima first came to the UK at the age of 19 to pursue an undergraduate degree in medical science. After completing it, she then furthered her studies completing a Masters degree and she managed to work for a couple of years. With her family back home experiencing severe hardship and her prospects in the UK being limited by the increased restrictions brought on by the unnecessarily complex changes in immigration rules and policies introduced by the UK Government in creating their hostile environment against migrants and refugees, Fatima experienced a mental health crisis due the stress she was under. After losing her job, she was unable to secure a new job with an employer who could sponsor her visa to remain in the UK, making her undocumented and nearly destitute due to being excluded from state support. Fatima could no longer go home as it would have been difficult for her to find work in her field and other fields in her country of birth. Despite her situation, she decided to stay in the UK in order to support her family back home, but she has been living undocumented and working in menial but vital roles as a cleaner in clinics, hospitals & care homes – earning just enough to survive and to be able to send money to her family for essentials. Much of her early adult years have been extremely tough and precarious, she is now 38 and will be able to regularise her status next year using what we will call route number 4 – the 20 year rule on long residence – granted she can raise the thousands of pounds to pay for the application and any legal fees and granted she can also show proof that she has been living in the UK continuously all along.
You are a parent with sole or shared responsibility of a child who is under 18 years of age and your child:
– is a British citizen, or
– has settled status or Indefinite Leave to Remain, or
– is an EU citizen with pre-settled status, or
– is not a British citizen but has been living in the UK continuously for 7 years or more
– and it would be deemed unreasonable to expect your child to leave the UK and start a new life with you elsewhere.
This is pretty self-explanatory, so I will move on to the next point.
– You are the partner of a British citizen or EU citizen with settled or pre-settled status, or
– you are the partner of someone from outside the EU who has Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK, or
– your partner has refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK.
Now you may be wondering, how is a partner, in this case, defined?
Under the family life route, a partner is defined as the applicant’s spouse, fiancé, civil partner, proposed civil partner or a person who has been living together with their partner in a relationship similar to a marriage or civil partnership for 2 years or more prior to the application.
It is also important to note that if you are undocumented and previously held a visa or permission to stay in the UK as a partner, you might be able to regularise your immigration status if, for example, the reason you lost your status was because the relationship broke down due to you experiencing domestic abuse.
You need asylum or humanitarian protection.
Take the hypothetical example of Tendai:
Tendai came to the UK 8 years ago to complete a masters degree. He had been involved in human rights and political campaigning in his country of birth and he continued to be involved whilst in the UK. When he left his country of birth, the political and economic situation had deteriorated so he planned to complete his studies, and find work in order to support his family through sending remittances from the UK where he could earn much more in a month than he would in a year in his country of birth if he could even find work. On completing his degree, he searched for work but found it extremely difficult to find an employer that had a sponsorship license for international workers. Unfortunately, time ran out and his permission to stay expired before he could find an employer with a sponsorship license. When he spoke with his family, they advised him not to return due to the crisis back home and the risk that he could be targeted for his human rights campaigning. So, he continued living in the UK despite his irregularised immigration status, working anywhere he could in order to survive and to support his family abroad. When he had saved up enough money, Tendai subsequently went to an immigration solicitor who helped him apply for asylum. However, his application was refused making him undocumented again. Tendai is appealing the decision in the courts and is hoping he can regularise his status and get refugee or humanitarian protection.
You are a victim of human trafficking and modern slavery.
On trafficking and modern slavery, you can follow the real life story of British athletic champion ‘Mo Farah’ (also known as Hussein Abdi Kahin) who was trafficked to the UK as a child. There is a BBC documentary titled ‘The Real Mo Farah’.
If you are someone that is or has experienced human trafficking and modern slavery, there is an existing pathway to regularise your immigration status.
That said, with the majority of undocumented people who are living in the UK not being able to access the available routes to regularise their status now or in the near future, it’s no wonder the population is estimated at between 600,000 to 1.2 million.
The fact is that most undocumented people in the UK have lived here for over 5, 10 and even 15 years.
They, too, are integral members of British society and it is the current rules that make and keep people undocumented, often for long periods of time.
Instead, the UK Government can recognise and respect the human rights of this population of people by implementing a regularisation procedure that is accessible for anyone who finds themselves being made undocumented for whatever reason.
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For more information, visit https://regularise.org
‘Undocumented Migrants And The 20 Year Rule On Long Residence’: https://regularise.org/reports/undocu…
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