I need a bit of clarification on long residence route for ILR. Client have been in the UK lawfully for 9 and half years (currently on Tier 2). However, as part of his training module he needed to travel out of the UK and have been absent from the UK for 90 days. In total he has 630 days instead of the 540 days allowed.
My question is
1. Can the he still make a successful application in view of exceeding the allowed 540 days?
2. What is the best course of action for him to apply for an ILR under long term residency given his absence from the UK?
Thanks for your help
The Home Office has powers of discretion. Two years ago, we had a student whom had spent more than 800 days out, but most of that being certified by her lecturer as necessary for her to research for her final thesis. That decision came back favourable.
Your client will need to evidence that (some of) his absences were work / course /medically related or whether there are compassionate grounds to discount any portion of it.
Unfortunately we did not have the same success. My guy was a brilliant student at the Univ. of Manchester and earned a Ph.D. in Economics. His thesis required a tremendous amount of field work so he went over the 540 days. His total was 639 days covering a period of nearly 14 years in total. In that time, the field work for his PhD came to 394 days, 243 days attributed to academic conferences, workshops and internships he attended all directly related to his work. Holiday time was just 2 days. He personally interviewed over 8,000 individuals and we even presented all of the records, conference materials and awards. He has been an in-demand speaker and presented lectures at Harvard University and many other countries. The HO said that basically he should have been “counting the days” and the IJ did not deviate from their decision and the UT wouldn’t budge either. No one would consider “discretion”. We ended up applying for a Tier-2 visa but such a shame.
Each case falls on their own merits. We’ve always prepared cases of excessive absences on balancing (and arguing) whether they were choice vs necessity.
That particular student’s case was an easy one for us, as her lecturer has stated in a letter that without her being physically in China, her thesis would be without credibility (was related to sociology / business in Chinese society) and that she had been in almost weekly contact with him to report progress etc.
In other cases, we had provided e.g death certificates, doctor’s letters and even historical weather reports to discount absences over the allowable period.