End of Right to Settlement through the Ankara agreement visa (Turkish ECAA business person visa)

The government has announced the end of the right to indefinite leave to remain in the UK through the Ankara agreement visa.

This means that self-employed Turkish businesspersons who wish to apply for an extension of stay in the UK to self-establish in business or continue operating their business under the Turkish European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA) will not be eligible. Likewise dependents will not be eligible.

The ECAA was set up under the Ankara Agreement on 12 September 1963 with the general aim of promoting economic relations between Turkey and the European Community and the eventual accession of Turkey to the Community.

The new Guidance published on 16 March 2018 says that:

1 under the provisions of the Turkish Business ECAA, there is no route to settlement for Turkish ECAA business persons or their dependants. [Note this contradicts what was stated in previous Guidance.];

2 this was confirmed in the two cases of Aydogdu v SSHD [JR/15737/2015] and Bektas Alagoz [2017] CSOH 27;

3 while the implications of the judgment was being examined, settlement applications submitted prior to 16 March 2018 continued to be processed in line with the guidance below;

4 that period of examination has now been concluded. In line with the Aydogdu and Alagoz judgments above, there is no provision for the granting of ILR under the provisions of the Turkish ECAA;

5 While such persons are not eligible for settlement under the ECAA, further periods of 3 years’ leave should be granted to any applicant who has applied for Settlement -and meets the necessary ECAA requirements for leave to remain.

Our view is that this announcement is not a surprise. It could be argued it is connected to Brexit, but it is not – it is connected to the 2 cases and the apparent misinterpretation of the rules for many years beforehand.

Turkish business people who wish to come to the UK to work on a self employed basis can still come under this visa but they should be clear that they will not be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain at the end of 4 years. They may be able to apply for naturalisation after 10 years if they are able to stay in the UK legally for a continuous period of 10 years.

Turkish business people who wish to come to the UK to work on a self employed basis and who wish to keep open the option of indefinite leave to remain should consider the different types of Tier 1 visa that exist, namely Tier 1 Investor, Tier 1 Entrepreneur and Tier 1 Exceptional Talent.

Tom Redfern