When things change for the better -Turkish ECAA visa: visa extensions and settlement

New guidance has been provided to the Home Office Staff on deciding applications from self-employed Turkish business persons 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 EC Association Agreement.

The Home Office has also announced new Immigration Rules to enable Turkish nationals who are in the UK as either ECAA business persons or ECAA workers, as well as their family members, to apply for indefinite leave to remain (ILR).

In addition to its commitments under the European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA), the UK will provide a tailored category of settlement for this group of Turkish nationals.

From 6 July, ECAA business persons and ECAA workers, as well as their family members will be able to apply for ILR, with standardised ILR requirements including:

a 5 year residency requirement for main applicants and their spouses/partners;
a knowledge of language and life in the UK (KOLL) requirement;
the standard ILR application fee.

Some eligibility requirements will be specific to the new ILR routes for persons here under the ECAA.

In fact, the route will recognise time spent in the UK as an ECAA business person or worker, as well as time spent on equivalent routes under the Points Based system (PBS), provided the applicant is currently in the UK under the ECAA provisions and children will able to settle at the same time as the main sponsor, including those children over the age of 21 provided they meet certain dependency requirements.

A new route for spouses to obtain further limited leave to remain while they accrue the necessary 5 years’ continuous leave in order to apply for ILR, has been provided.

A further leave to remain can be issued to the partner/spouse of a Turkish ECAA worker or ECAA business person for up to 3 years, provided that the Secretary of State is satisfied that each of the requirements are met.

The new routes in the Immigration Rules from March 30, 2020 show that Turkish Nationals and their family members have not been forgotten.

Alessia Zanni