The length of time that a resident must wait before becoming eligible to apply for British citizenship has almost doubled since 2012, from six years to 10 – pushing thousands of lawful migrants into an increasingly precarious existence.
Fees for a limited leave to remain application are applied per person rather than per household, and status must be renewed every 30 months. The cost of renewing an application for a resident with limited leave to remain has increased by 238% in five years – from £601 per person in 2014 to £2,033 in January 2019. The £2,033 fee includes a £1,000 contribution to the NHS, initially touted as a tax on visiting migrants, even though people have lived here most of our lives and many already pay taxes so it is a double tax.
Some families are paying tens of thousands of pounds every two and a half years to stay on track. People who have grown up in the UK are being forced into destitution. If unable to afford to pay the fee, people lose the right to NHS treatment and lawful immigration status.
The process involves detailed paperwork, with forms long and complex. Getting expert legal advice is expensive so often people have to do it on their own. If an application is rejected, you have to save up all over again and reapply. Literally adding years to the process.
In 2015, the supreme court granted those with limited leave to remain the right to study in the UK with full access to home fees – exempting students like her from international charges of up to £26,000. But students must have lived here for half of their lives and have been granted leave to remain more than once to be eligible.