Can I get an indefinite to remain status UK through a student visa?
May 16, 2023 10:55 AM   Subscribe

Hi. Can I get the Indefinite leave to remain on a student visa if I plan to pursue a PhD in England for 4 years and then a postdoc afterwards for a year or two? I am not sure how the indefinite leave to remain works. I am Canadian and have no parents or grandparents born in the UK but my great-grandmother was born in London but ancestry visa does not look at great-grandparents. I want to live in England permanently if I can and teach or work in government with a PhD in Political Science. My partner and I want to live in the UK eventually if we can.
posted by RearWindow to Law & Government (4 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
The main paths to apply for ILR in the UK are:

(1) 5 years spent living and working (my emphasis) -- if you look in the "If you work in the UK" section, student visas are not listed here

(2) Family in the UK -- presumably this is not the case for you

(3) 10 years spent living in the UK -- time spent on a student visa (unless it's a short-term study visa to study English, but that doesn't sound like the case here) does count toward this pathway, but it requires 10 and not 5 years of residency

(4) 5 years spent living in the UK as a Commonwealth citizen on an Ancestry visa -- Canadians are Commonwealth citizens but as you mention, your UK ancestor is too remote to qualify for an Ancestry visa

The TLDR, unless your situation is extraordinary, is that 4 years spent on a student visa and 1-2 years on a postdoc will not be sufficient to apply for ILR -- you need to either spend 5 full years living and working in the UK, or spend 10 full years living legally in the UK.

From a non-government website (but there are lots of others that say essentially the same thing):

Time spent on Student visas does not lead directly to ILR, however time spent in this category can be included when making an application for ILR through Long Residence (10 year route).

posted by andrewesque at 11:10 AM on May 16 [2 favorites]

Note that if you plan to apply for ILR using long term residence, any absence from the UK of longer than 6 months will restart the clock no matter how long you've been there. You'll need to keep track of all your absences regardless of duration as well, and keep hold of the your original entry receipt. (This happened to me, so I got a Tier 1 visa instead and coverted to ILR after 2 years, a route that is sadly now closed.)
posted by Ardnamurchan at 12:12 PM on May 16 [1 favorite]

Response by poster: @Ardnamurchan Do you mean that if I did my PhD in England for four years plus two years of postdoc there, it would count towards the long-term residence on a student visa and working visa as a Canadian?
posted by RearWindow at 2:04 PM on May 16

Coming to the UK on a student visa is a possible but not guaranteed route to ILR. It relies on you getting a work permit job that lasts for 3-5 years, after your student and any graduate visa. And never tripping up on any of the rules.

A 4 year PhD and a 2 year postdoc would give you 6 years towards your 10 years living in the UK for ILR. You would need to get an employment based work permit for the remaining 4 years. (You can get a graduate visa for 3 years following a PhD which potentially narrows the gap further by 1 year.)

A 4 year PhD and a 2 year postdoc could currently count for 2 years of the 5 years working in the UK for ILR, but it looks like it would only count if you were on a skilled worker visa, rather than a graduate visa. The good news is that "researcher" is currently on the occupation list for skilled workers under code 2119 and it looks like social science as well as natural science is included, so this is theoretically possible but I'd expect an employer to prefer the graduate visa option.

Please note that Home Office hostile climate for migrants is very real and will apply to you too. I personally know three people who have separately had to leave the UK at very short notice due to visa issues.
posted by plonkee at 2:57 PM on May 16 [4 favorites]

« Older Did I just ruin my colonoscopy prep solution?   |   Friendly Database Interface Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments