How to Get PR in UK for Indian Students in 2024

The United Kingdom is a top study destination among destinations worldwide, and this country is also a good place to live and work. So, if you decide to stay back in the UK after your studies for PR (permanent residency), I will explain how this can be possible today. In this post, we will basically talk about how to get PR in UK for Indian students. I will reveal the number of years it’ll take to become a PR holder here in the UK as a student.

Do note that in the UK, it is not considered PR but we do have permanent residency in the form of ILR (Indefinite leave to remain). ILR is your ticket to settling in the UK, also known as settlement. With the ILR, you can live, study, start a business, work, and even access some benefits you’re entitled to in the UK for as long as you like. This is a step towards applying for British citizenship. So, when you hear ILR, it’s just short for indefinite leave to remain. Now, there are many ways to apply for ILR, and which one you use depends on your situation. The time it takes to get your ILR depends on your visa. We have different paths like the 3-year route, the 5-year route, the 7-year route, and the 9-10-year route. For a study visa, you are looking at 9 to 10 years. Also, a student visa can result in 3-5 years but your years of study won’t count, let’s say like your 2 year of masters. So, after studying, you still have to reapply for a work visa which will then take 5 years before you can get this residency. So, if someone says they received their ILR in 3 years, it’s possible, but it all depends on the visa they had.

How to Get PR in UK for Indian Students

The maze of UK immigration rules and categories may seem tough, but it’s actually simpler. If you get a visa for less than 6 months, it’s a short-term stay. You won’t be seen as a resident in any way. If your visa is for more than 6 months, it’s a long-term stay. This means you get some rights as a resident, such as opening bank accounts, using the NHS, voting in local council elections, working, etc. This long-term status is usually given for either 3 years or 5 years and then needs to be renewed. Some visas can’t be renewed after 5 years.

1. Study and Work in the UK

You can apply for ILR after 5 years on most visa types, and for some, like student visas, it’s after 10 years. There are some long-term visas that don’t let you count your time towards the 5-year requirement. Also, if you change your visa type, often you have to start your time count from zero.

So, 2 years on a student visa doesn’t count towards the 5-year mark. Then, if you are lucky enough to get a job as a skilled worker:

  • 3 years on a work visa, which does count towards the 5-year mark.
  • Renew it for another 3 years, and this also counts.

But, you can’t apply for ILR or (what you call PR) until you have been in the country for about 9 years in most cases. If you have heard that a UK student visa could lead to PR or ILR, go over what I’ve just explained again. By the way, the UK is one of the worst countries to study abroad.

To put it bluntly, the policy doesn’t really plan for or support you staying longer than your student visa allows. Even if you find a job, you may have to go back to your home country first and then apply for a work visa from there.

So, if you’re working in the UK and have a work visa, you might be able to apply based on that. Normally, you need to have lived and worked in the UK for 5 years. But, if you have a Tier One Visa, it could be just 2 or 3 years. And for those with an Innovator, Founder, or Global Talent Visa, it’s 3 years. You may also need to meet certain salary or financial requirements, depending on your visa. Your application depends on the type of visa you have, like a Tier 2 or International Sports person or Skilled Worker visa, a Scale of Visa, a Global Talent Visa, an Innovator, Founder Visa, a Representative visa, and so on. Or if you work as a private servant in a diplomatic household or as a domestic worker with an international agreement visa. So, basically, some people can apply for indefinite leave to remain after 5 years, some after 2 to 3 years, and others after 3 years, all depending on the visa they hold.

Now, focusing on the Tier 2 Visa, if you have a Skilled Worker visa or a Tier 2 General Visa, you might be eligible to settle in the UK permanently. They’ve updated the name from Tier 2 to Skilled Worker. This also applies if you’re on a Tier 2 Minister of Religion visa or if you’re an international sports person. You can apply for your indefinite leave to remain after spending 5 years in the UK. This is the case for Skilled Worker visas, Health and Care Worker visas, where the 5-year mark is considered for your eligibility. You also need to show that your job still needs you and that you meet all the other requirements. Once you’re eligible for indefinite leave to remain, you’ll need a document from your employer to confirm your status. So, this outlines the eligibility for those on a Skilled Worker visa or Health and Care Worker visa, highlighting the 5-year pathway.

2. Take the 10 Year Route

There’s also the option of the 10 years route, which you can follow as a way to get PR in UK for Indian students. This means if you have been living in the UK for 10 years or more, you may be eligible to apply for ILR. This is for people who have been in the UK legally for 10 continuous years, and it’s known as being a long resident. You can also apply based on your private life. So, there are actually people who have gotten their indefinite leave to remain after living in the UK for 10 years. For example, let’s say you are here on a study visa and you just keep studying—after your Masters, you go for a PhD, and you just want to keep studying until you have been here for 10 years. Then, you could be qualified to apply for your ILR.

A study visa isn’t directly a path to settlement in the UK for Indians. That’s why Indians on a study visa often switch to a work visa, and it’s from that point, the time starts counting towards their indefinite leave to remain. The study visa by itself doesn’t lead to settlement. But, if you’ve somehow lived in the UK for a whole 10 years, then you may be eligible to apply for your ILR (or PR if you like).

3. Apply for UK PR as a Commonwealth Citizen

As an Indian, you are a Commonwealth citizen. If you have resided in the UK for 5 years on a UK Ancestry visa, you can apply for permanent residency. Some Commonwealth citizens have the ‘right of abode’ in the UK. So, you will be allowed to live or work here in  the UK without immigration restrictions.

4. Complete the Life in the UK Test

First, you will fill out and send in the online application form. The specific form you need depends on your pathway. You can add your partner and children to your ILR application if they are eligible. Next, you have to pass your Life in the UK test and pay the fee, which is £2,885. For those on a Scale of Visa, you may be eligible to apply for your indefinite leave to remain after living in the UK for 5 years. As part of the PR/ILR process, you also have to meet the financial requirements.

The application process is usually straightforward. It will involve scheduling and going to a meeting at a UKVCAS office to give your biometric details, including your photo and fingerprints.

You’ll then hand in any documents the Home Office asks for, such as your Life in the UK test pass certificate. Usually, you’ll hear back within 6 months. If necessary, you can choose the priority service to get a response in 5 working days. It usually costs £500 while the super priority service to get a decision by the next working day costs £1,000.

Conclusion

So, it’s not that complicated but also not a very simple process. With this guide, you now understand how to get PR in UK for Indian students. It does seem overwhelming, especially with all these new rules every day. That’s exactly why I decided to make this post to help clear things up and steer you in the right direction. Also, don’t believe everything you hear or see on social media about permanent residency in the UK. Your best bet is always the UK government website where you can check the facts for yourself.

Read AlsoUK Student Visa Interview Questions [Updated]

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