This blog follows my entrepreneurial and immigration journey of living and working in the UK. After receiving the Entrepreneur’s Visa (now Innovator Visa) and the UK Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa, I was able to apply for the Indefinite Leave to Remain Visa.
The (ILR) or permanent residency (PR) is an immigration status granted to a person who does not hold the right of abode in the United Kingdom (UK), but who has been admitted to the UK without any time limit on his or her stay and who is free to take up employment or study. And this person can then be on their way to apply for UK Citizenship provided they meet the criteria for naturalisation.
So, in March 2019, I applied for the ILR and using the super priority 24 hour service, I became a successful recipient.
The ILR process was actually alot easier than I anticipated and the most challenging part for me was studying for the Life in the UK Test.
Life in the UK Test
The Life in the UK test was introduced to ensure applicants have a good knowledge of British customs, traditions, laws and the political system, as well as the English language. The test is computer based consisting of 24 multiple choice questions. To pass the test, applicants must receive a score of at least 18/24 = 75% and the cost is £50.
The test can be taken multiple times however, each time the test is taken, the £50 fee applies. I didn’t want to fail nor did I want to pay the £50 fee again so I prepared for the test by:
Upon reflection, having watched a brilliant TV series The Tudors previously and touring Hadrians Wall in the North East helped me answer some of the questions. I also recommend visiting tourist spots such as the Tower of London, Stonehenge, London Museum, National Portrait Gallery, V&A Museum, Imperial War Museum, Churchill’s War Rooms just to name a few.
Testing the different cuisines of Scotland, Ireland, Wales and England is also a great learning experience! As a foodie, here is the list:
I am pleased to report that I passed the test the first time and the results provided was a pass (or fail). I don’t know how many or which questions I answered incorrectly but I was relieved to know I succeeded after a month of studying for the test. I must admit, I struggled with UK artists and sporting questions.
The other evidence for the ILR application also required proof that I earnt income in the field of digital technology during my 3 years so I provided evidence in the form of payslips and a letter from my employer. Because my start up is pre-revenue, pre investment and pre trade, I worked at a University by covering a maternity leave position as an employee in the field of digital technology.
There were other criteria including an English Language requirement but because I am an Australian citizen, I was exempt.
I also sought legal advice from an immigration solicitor to ensure all my questions were answered to reduce my risk of completing an incorrect or incomplete application. This is because the ILR fee plus the super priority service fee, the UKVCAS appointment fee and biometric fee meant that in total, my ILR application fee was in the vicinity of £3000.
I am extremely relieved that I was advised by the Home office almost immediately that my application was successful and I now have an ILR. (The decision was made in 48 hours rather than the speedy 24 hour super priority service so I received a refund of £610 which was a welcome relief).
The ILR is like a permanent residency which means that I can stay in the UK under no restrictions (other than restricted and recorded travel outside of the UK if I want to apply for British Citizenship) but it also means that I am free to work or study in any field (even though I will continue to work in the field of Digital Technology).
The ILR also meant that I was a step closer to becoming a British Citizen so that I can have the true freedom and flexibility that entrepreneurs who are British citizens have by default. The cost, the stress, the challenges that foreign entrepreneurs and talent who have visa restrictions and the need to record the amount of travel outside of the UK for x number of days means that these challenges have an impact on our personal and professional lives too. Also, the application fee for British citizenship is in the vicinity of £1300.
My Top Tips for getting an ILR
Follow my next journey here on how I became a UK Citizen!
This blog was written by Michelle Hua, Speaker, CEO & Founder of Made With Glove. In 2016, Michelle was the recipient of the Exceptional Talent Visa and is the former #TechNationVisa Ambassador. Michelle consults for highly skilled tech entrepreneurs and people working in digital technologies on how they can receive the endorsement for exceptional talent. Read Michelle’s other blogs on the #TechNationVisa here and Michelle’s own journey here.
Contact Michelle at firstname.lastname@example.org to discuss how you can get endorsed for the UK Tech Nation Exceptional Talent Visa.
***This blog is about my own experience and while I consult on the Tech Nation Endorsement application process, I am not an immigration solicitor and I highly recommend anyone considering any visa route to seek legal advice.***