In the last one month or so, the Law Firm where I work, Adukus Solicitors, has received several calls and walk-in persons, all asking about a certain secret on-going amnesty scheme—under which the UK government is granting stay (leave to remain) to illegal immigrants who have lived in the country for 10 years.
This is completely false: the Home Office or UK’s Government does not have any amnesty scheme of this type, let alone to operate it clandestinely for whatever unreasonable purpose.
The UK has robust Immigration rules, mostly in place to punish and not reward those who have breached the existing Immigration rules or the conditions of their visas. Thus, it will be a slap in the face of the UK’s own public policy and Immigration rules to start rewarding illegal migrants in any ‘soft’ way outside the Immigration rules or outside the reasonable borders of its commitment to the protection of certain human rights.
Earlier this year, a petition was started on the official UK Government and Parliament’s petition website which attracted about 46,000 signatures, asking the UK government to grant amnesty to illegal immigrants who have lived in the UK for 10 years or more but less than 20 years.
On 6 June 2018, the UK government which is under an ‘obligation’ to respond to petitions which obtain 10,000 signatures and to also debate in parliament petitions which obtain 100,000 or more signatures responded to the call for amnesty petition.
The government rejected the call for amnesty and stated, inter alia, that: “There are no plans to grant an amnesty to illegal migrants. Our immigration policies are based on principles of fairness to legal migrants and not rewarding those who do not abide by the Rules.”
Below is the full response of the UK’s government:
“The Government does not believe that introducing a blanket amnesty for illegal migrants wishing to regularise their immigration status would be the correct approach. It would reward illegality, undermine the Immigration Rules for applying for leave to enter or remain, which Parliament has approved, and would be unfair to those migrants who come to the UK legally and observe immigration conditions. It could also encourage more migrants to attempt to enter or stay in the country illegally in the hope that they would be treated similarly. This additional risk of encouraging further illegal migration could potentially endanger individuals and their families by placing them in the hands of unscrupulous traffickers.
Immigration Rules have been designed to be fair and to treat people with respect and dignity, but also firm with those who do not abide by the Rules, and that ensure people come to the UK for the right reasons – to work hard and contribute to our economy and society.
It is important that we distinguish between those who are here legally and those who are here illegally. We recognise the devastating consequences that illegal migration can have on individuals who become vulnerable to exploitation. We are committed to tackling the organised crime groups who profit from illegal migration and protecting those who are at risk of exploitation.
There are routes available for individuals who believe they have a right to remain in the UK on the basis of family or private life, or other human rights grounds. Those who wish to can apply under the Immigration Rules and each application is considered on a case-by-case basis, taking into account the individual circumstances.
It is important that there are clear incentives to comply with the Immigration Rules. This means for example that private life established here while a person is in the UK unlawfully or while their immigration status is precarious should be accorded little weight. Full details can be found on GOV.UK by searching for Appendix FM 1.0b Family Life (as a Partner or Parent) and Private Life: 10-year Routes here: www.homeoffice.gov.uk. Balancing the individual right to respect for private or family life with the public interest in safeguarding the economic well-being of the UK by controlling immigration is a legitimate objective.
At the same time, we recognise some people arrived in the UK many years ago and do not have documentation confirming their immigration status. They have faced difficulties in proving their right to work, to rent property and to access benefits and services to which they are entitled. The Government has apologised to people in this position and has made a commitment to help them get the documents they need.
On 16 April, a Taskforce was established to make immediate arrangements to help those who needed it. This included setting up a helpline to get in touch with the Home Office.
On 24 May, the Home Secretary announced the Windrush Scheme to make it easier for people to access the support they need. Those applying under this Scheme will benefit from the services of the Taskforce which will help people to navigate the immigration system and will continue to take a sympathetic and proactive approach when resolving applications.
As correctly mentioned by the Home Office in the above statement, there are routes to regularizing your stay in the UK and the current Immigration rules provide for a 20 year long residence route contained at paragraph 276ADE(1)(iii) for those who have been in the UK illegally to be granted leave to remain.
Under the 20-year rule, a person does not have to have lived in the UK lawfully or legally, but simply “continuously” to qualify for leave to remain (be given stay)—30 months renewable leave. Note that time spent in prison does not count towards the 20 years.
Of course, under any rule, there are exceptions.
While the rule states that you must have lived in the UK for 20 years illegally to qualify for leave to remain (stay), if you have not lived in the UK for 20 years but have lived in the UK for ‘enough years’—establishing strong private and/family life in the UK and you can show that your case falls within an ‘exceptional circumstance or humanitarian grounds’ where it would unreasonable to be expected to leave the United Kingdom, you can make an application for leave to remain and be successful even though you have not been in the for the 20 years.
Even though you should disregard speculations of the UK Government or the Home Office issuing residence documents under some covert amnesty scheme for those who have lived in the UK illegally for 10 years as this is NOT TRUE, you should note that irrespective of your situation or how long you have been in the UK, speaking to an Immigration expert to consider options which we may be available to you based on your circumstance to regularize your stay can be extremely helpful.
If you require UK Immigration advice or assistance on the above or any other matter, contact us at Adukus Solicitors on +447837576037 (Direct and Whatsapp) or +442071831479.
Alternatively, E-mail: [email protected]
Adukus Solicitors is a law firm based in London specializing in Immigration & Nationality Law, Criminal Law (including Police Station and Court Representation), Housing Law, Family Law, Prison Law, and Personal Injury.
The firm is authorized and regulated by the Solicitors Regulation Authority.