‘A punishing process’: Experiences of people on the 10-year route to settlement

2 March 2023: Guardian: Half of people trying to get permanent UK residency by 10-year route struggle to afford food

Effects of ‘devastating and punishing’ Home Office system introduced in 2012 now being felt, experts say

More than half the people trying to secure permanent residency in the UK through the Home Office’s “devastating and punishing” 10-year route struggle to afford food and pay bills, a survey has indicated.

The 10-year route to settling permanently in the UK was one of a series of deliberately tough measures introduced in 2012 by Theresa May when she was home secretary, as part of drive to cut net migration. Researchers say the full effects of the policy are only now starting to be felt.

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REPORT: EXPERIENCES ON THE 10-YEAR ROUTE TO SETTLEMENT

2nd March 2023 Praxis: REPORT: EXPERIENCES ON THE 10-YEAR ROUTE TO SETTLEMENT

Around 170,000 people are estimated to be on a ‘10-year route to settlement’ – a way for some people with strong ties to the UK to be able to stay here permanently. On this route, individuals face a number of challenges – length of time before being eligible to stay permanently, the high cost of visa fees (around £13,000 over the 10-year period for one adult), the requirement for repeat applications every 2-and-a-half-years, complex applications with few options for legal advice, and restrictions in accessing welfare through the default ‘no recourse to public funds’ (NRPF) condition.

In new research conducted by Praxis and partners the Institute for Public Policy Research (IPPR) and the Greater Manchester Immigration Aid Unit (GMIAU), we take stock of the impacts of the 10-year route to settlement on people’s lives. Our findings are drawn from a survey of over 300 people who are either on the 10-year route to settlement, or have been on the route, as well as in-depth interviews with people on the route.

Our research find a series of potential pitfalls and wrong turns arising from the design of the route that lead to poverty and insecurity for many. This is an immigration route often used by women, parents and caregivers, and people from a Black and South Asian background. Usually, people on the 10-year route are long-term residents – 60 % of those we surveyed had been in the UK for more than a decade. Many are working in low-paid jobs and have severely stretched household finances. The high costs, repeated renewals, complexity and NRPF place considerable pressure on people for a prolonged period of their lives and hold people back from achieving all they could for themselves and their families, their communities and the economy.

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ICIBI: report published – family visas, fees and more

18 October 2022: ICIBI – Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration: Inspection Report Published: An inspection of the Home Office’s processing of family visas September 2021 – February 2022

This inspection examined the Home Office’s processing of indefinite leave to remain applications on the family visa route

The inspection report focused on:

  • the efficiency of the process and the quality of decisions
  • the accessibility of the application process for applicants
  • the impact on an applicant (and their family) when they are placed on a 10-year route to settlement
  • whether assurances are in place to ensure that discretion is being exercised in decision-making, where appropriate, to put the applicant at the forefront of the process.

Publishing the report, David Neal, the Independent Chief Inspector of Borders and Immigration (ICIBI), said:

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Suggested letter to MPs – New Plan for Immigration

Dear  Friends

If you have not already signed one of the many template letters opposing the Bill, which are being circulated by the Refugee Council, Detention Action and others,  you might like to crib from this letter which I have sent to my MP.

It identifies our Quaker position and refers to the New Plan for Immigration which took up so much of our time earlier this year.   It does not cover everything of concern.

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Concerns about New Plan for Immigration consultation process

QARN signed this letter: 30 April 2021: Guardian: ‘Sham’: 200 groups criticise UK government consultation on refugee policy

Bodies say survey is poorly designed, rushed and may exclude refugees from responding

Almost 200 organisations have branded a government consultation on fundamental changes to refugee policy “a sham”.

A total of 192 refugee, human rights, legal and faith groups have signed a public statement condemning the six-week consultation on the government’s New Plan for Immigration as “vague, unworkable, cruel and potentially unlawful”.

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Child Citizenship Registration Fees model letter to MP

This is self-explanatory, please write to your MP and let us know what they say:

Dear Member of Parliament, Child Citizenship Registration Fees

As your constituent (address supplied), I am asking if you would kindly contact the Home Secretary and the Prime Minister to ask them to give effect to the recent decision in the Court of Appeal (R v SSHD EWCA Civ 193 – Feb 2021) and reduce the per capita child citizenship fee from £1,012 to the administrative cost, which is £386. The decision binds the Home Secretary only to a review, not to a figure, but it would be reasonable to expect this reduction in view of the radical change of culture promised in the Comprehensive Improvement Plan drawn up last September to reflect the Lessons of Windrush Learned.

I would also like you to ask them to review all immigration fees downwards in advance of the same claimant taking a case to the Supreme Court to annul the Fees Regulations of 2017 and 2018. It is clear that most of the immigration fees currently being charged are unaffordable to individuals and families, many of whom have already had to go into debt over recent years because of excessive Home Office fees.

Yours sincerely,


25 March 2021: This was discussed in Parliament – click here for the Hansard link, but your attention is drawn to this extract, Meg Hillier speaking:

2.58pm I will just say, though, that the Minister let the cat out of the bag, rather, when he talked about the rationale behind the fees being the benefits likely to accrue to the applicant. I would say we should also think about the benefit of the applicant to the UK, which has been ably highlighted by, among others, my hon. Friend the Member for Mitcham and Morden (Siobhain McDonagh). The Minister also talked about paying for the costs of other parts of the immigration system, so this does cross-subsidise, and I think we need to look very carefully at that principle.

UK’s £1,000 child citizenship fee ruled unlawful by appeal court

18 February 2021: Guardian: Court upholds ruling that Home Office failed to assess best interests of children in setting the fee

Home Office fees of £1,000 for children to register as British citizens are unlawful, the court of appeal has upheld in a landmark ruling.

The high fees that children or their parents are expected to pay to secure British citizenship have been controversial for many years. Children who have a right to register as British citizens but may be prevented from doing so due to the high cost or lack of access to legal advice risk losing out on rights and benefits.

Thursday’s ruling found that ministers had failed to assess and consider the impact of this fee on children and their rights, pointing out that for some families it was “difficult to see how the fee could be afforded at all”.

The Home Office charges £1,012 for a child to register for citizenship. However, the process costs about a third of that, at £372. The Home Office says the profit is used to fund other areas of its work.

Read more: https://www.theguardian.com/politics/2021/feb/18/uk-unlawfully-charging-1000-for-children-to-become-citizens

Corporate Watch report on UK Border regime

Throughout history, human beings have migrated. To escape war, oppression and poverty, to make a better life, to follow their own dreams. But since the start of the 20th century, modern governments have found ever more vicious ways to stop people moving freely.

The UK border regime includes the razor wire fences at Calais, the limbo of the asylum system, and the open violence of raids and deportations. Alongside the Home Office, it includes the companies running databases and detention centres, the media pushing hate speech, and the politicians posturing to win votes. It keeps on escalating, through Tony Blair’s war on refugees to Theresa May’s “hostile environment”, spreading fear and division.

This book describes and analyses the UK’s system of immigration controls. It looks at how it has developed through recent history, the different actors involved, and how people resist. The aim is to help understand the border regime, and ask how we can fight it effectively.

NB: we will be glad to send copies for free to asylum seekers and other people without papers. For other people and groups fighting the border regime, we can send at cost price or whatever you can afford to donate.

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