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Refugees, migrants with humanitarian protection allowed to apply for British citizenship

Can apply if initial 5-yr permission to stay ends during August 2010- July 2011  

11th March 2010: If you are a refugee or a migrant with humanitarian protection in the UK, you will be allowed to apply for settlement and British citizenship under the current rules.

The announcement by the UK Border Agency comes with a rider. You will be allowed to apply if your initial five-year permission to stay here ends between August 2010 and the date when the ‘earned citizenship’ system comes into force, scheduled for July 2011.

The UKBA has asserted: `If you are granted refugee status or humanitarian protection in the UK, we initially give you permission to stay here, also known as ‘limited leave to remain’ for five years.

`Under the current rules, you can apply for permission to settle here permanently, also known as ‘indefinite leave to remain’ when your initial permission to stay ends.

`When you are given indefinite leave to remain, we say that you are ‘free of immigration time restrictions’. If you have been free of immigration time restrictions for one year, and you meet certain other requirements, you can apply for British citizenship.

`The Leave to remain and Can I be naturalised as a British citizen? sections of the UKBA website contain more information’.

The Border Agency has added: `The UK government is now changing the way that migrants progress to British citizenship. We expect that the new system of ‘earned citizenship’, which includes a stage of ‘probationary citizenship’, will come into force in July 2011.

`If you were granted refugee status or humanitarian protection between August 2005 and July 2006, and your initial five-year permission to stay will expire before the earned citizenship system comes into force, you will still be able to apply for indefinite leave to remain. You will be expected to apply no more than 28 days before your initial permission to stay expires.

`If your application for indefinite leave to remain is successful, you will then be able to apply for British citizenship under the current legislation, provided that you make your British citizenship application before July 2013; and you meet the relevant requirements, which include being free of immigration time restrictions for a period of 12 months before you apply.

`If you have refugee status or humanitarian protection and your initial permission to stay will expire after the earned citizenship system comes into force scheduled for July 2011, you will need to apply for probationary citizenship and not indefinite leave to remain. The Earned citizenship page of the UKBA website contains more information.

`In the coming months we will explain which application forms and supporting evidence we will require from applicants. We will publish guidance to support this process, and will engage with stakeholders nationally and regionally’.

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