Limited leave creates barriers for those wanting to rebuild their lives - Refugee Council
September 3, 2010

Limited leave creates barriers for those wanting to rebuild their lives

Not giving refugees permanent leave to remain in the UK causes anxiety and stress, and acts as a barrier to them being able to rebuild their lives in the UK, according to a report published by the Refugee Council today. The report, The impact of limited leave on refugees in the UK, also finds that many refugees were not aware that they would need to reapply for permanent leave to remain after their initial five year period of being allowed to stay in the UK ran out.

It was five years ago in 2005 that the rules changed and refugees were no longer given permanent leave to remain – and so the first group of affected refugees have now had to re-apply for leave to stay in the UK. Refugees are given only 28 days to apply and if they apply late, they may lose their entitlements to work and benefits, and also will have their status reviewed. The UK Border Agency (UKBA) are writing to people a few weeks before they can apply for settlement here, but it is unlikely they will have full contact details for this group, since there is no obligation for refugees to update UKBA of new addresses. The findings of the research published today confirm the Refugee Council’s longstanding concerns about the policy of five year limited leave which date back to the introduction of the change in 2005.

If you are a refugee who is currently applying for indefinite leave to remain at the moment, we would like to hear from you so we can find out more about your experience. Please contact us at

Please note that the Refugee Council can not offer legal advice. We advise people to seek independent legal advice from an Office of the Immigration Services Commissioner (OISC) approved adviser before applying for indefinite leave to remain.