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Visa Applications

Volume 406: debated on Tuesday 10 June 2003

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To ask the Secretary of State for the Home Department how many persons have been granted (a) indefinite leave to remain and (b) exceptional leave to remain in each of the last four years for which figures are available. [115228]

[holding answer 22 May 2003]: The latest available information is given in the table.By way of background, indefinite leave to remain (ILR) can be granted in a variety of circumstances, for example to married and unmarried partners who have successfully completed a two year probationary period, long residence, in employment and business categories, such as work permit employment. A migrant can apply to settle in the United Kingdom as long as they meet the requirements set out in the Rules. In general these are that the migrant has been continuously resident in the UK save for a short trips abroad, for a minimum of four years; and still meets the requirements for stay under that category; and is still required in the UK for employment. Since July 1998, a person granted refugee status will have also been granted ILR concurrently.Under the Immigration Rules, ILR will also be granted to dependent children of people settled here who are aged under 18. Also, children who are admitted for adoption to someone settled here will qualify for ILR, once the formal adoption proceedings have been completed.A person who has completed four years exceptional leave may also apply for ILR. The rises in grants of exceptional leave to remain (ELR) have been contributed by a record number of initial decisions in 2001 (119,015) and high levels in 2002 (82,715), and by changes in the mix of applicant nationalities. All cases are decided on their individual merits. The main nationalities to be granted ELR in 2002 were Iraqi (8,130), Afghans (4,710) and Somali (1,400).On 1 April 2003, exceptional leave for failed asylum seekers was replaced by two forms of leave—Humanitarian Protection (HP) and Discretionary Leave (DL). They are more focused than exceptional leave and early signs are that we will see a reduction in those granted HP and DL compared to those who were previously granted exceptional leave. We have also ensured that the Secretary of State's over-riding discretion in immigration matters has been retained by introducing the concept of Leave Outside the Rules (LOTR). This, as previously, will be used in those wholly exceptional cases in which it would be inappropriate to remove someone from the UK even though they do not qualify under the Rules.

Table 1: Grants of settlement and exceptional leave to remain


, United Kingdom


, 1998–2002

Total grants of settlement

Asylum cases granted ELR

Exceptional leave granted when applicant had not applied for asylum


On removal of time limit (ILR)

Settlement on arrival (ILE)

Cases considered under normal


Considered under backing
clearance exercise


n/a = Not yet available

1 Information is of initial decisions, excluding the outcome of appeals or other subsequent decisions.

2 Figures rounded to the nearest 5, with * = 1 or 2.

3 Cases considered under normal procedures may include some cases decided under the backlog criteria.

4 Cases decided under measures aimed at reducing the pre 1996 asylum application backlog.

5 Provisional data


Data for 2002 will be published in August 2003.