Published: 07 Apr 2022  |  Category: Resettlement  |  Stage: We are preparing for a family to arrive | We have welcomed a family

Indefinite Leave to Remain: Changes to status for UKRS

The Home Office has announced that refugees who arrive through the UK Resettlement Scheme (UKRS) will now have Indefinite Leave to Remain.

Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILtR) means that there is no time limit for how long you can remain in the UK. It means that you are entitled to access benefits, education, healthcare and other rights of UK Citizens. It is possible to apply for Citizenship after you have lived here for 5 years. More details on applying for citizenship is available on GOV.UK.

All refugees arriving via the UKRS programme will receive ILtR on arrival to the UK. However, there are a number of refugees who have arrived between 1st March – 4th November 2021, and whose leave to remain currently reflects the previous resettlement schemes. All refugees who arrived through the UKRS during this time period are eligible to apply for ILtR at no cost – there is no fee required. In order to apply for ILtR, refugees will need to apply on the following GOV.UK website.  All groups who have welcomed families between March and November should have received a letter from the Home Office regarding this.

Refugees who arrived during the above time period do not need to apply immediately, only if they wish to. Individuals may wish to apply for ILtR when their current leave to remain is due to expire, as is the normal process. Their current leave to remain will only change to ILtR once a valid application has been made and decided.

Arrivals from 4th November 2021

For refugees who arrived from 4th November 2021, their Biometric Residency Permits (BRPs) will be stamped with ‘REFUGEE SETTLEMENT INDEFINITE LEAVE TO REMAIN’

The expiration date on their BRPs will usually state that this will be December 2024. This indicates the expiration of the card itself and does not relate to the duration of the leave the individual has been granted in the UK. You can find out more about changes to BRPs here.  

Arrivals July 2016 – March 2021

Refugees who arrived during July 2016 – March 2021, through the Vulnerable Persons Resettlement Scheme (VPRS) and Vulnerable Children’s Resettlement Scheme (VCRS), are not affected by this change and should follow the usual process if they wish to extend their leave in the UK.

How Community Sponsorship Groups can help

We would encourage groups to assist the families they’ve welcomed in making the application for ILtR, should the family choose to do so. It is really important that refugees understand all the information in applying for ILtR and pay attention to the guidance needed. Further, we encourage groups to adopt an empowerment approach to ILtR applications, when helping a family to apply.

Once an application is approved, a new BRP will be issued to the family’s home address – this is why it’s really important the Home Office is notified of any change of address.

If you have any questions regarding the process, please do get in touch with the LA Engagement Team via LAengagement-enquiries@homeoffice.gov.uk

Further information

If refugees wish to travel to another country, they must still apply for a Home Office travel document via the GOV.UK website.

Babies born in the UK – For any resettled families who have children born in the UK, please read our birth registration guidance.

Changes/Lost BRPs – whatever status refugees have, they must inform the Home Office immediately should there be a change to their information contained on their BRP (e.g., name or address change), or if a BRP is lost.

Lost or damaged BRPs should be reported here.

Any change of circumstances should be reported here.

An online system will be created for people with BRPs to prove they have a right to live and work in the UK – more information will be made available on this.