Settlement as Skilled Worker

If you have been living continuously in the UK for 5 years as a skilled worker, you may be eligible for permanent residency (settlement) in the UK. 

Visa Requirement

During the 5-year continuous residence period, your visa can be any of or any combination of the following visas:

There should not be any gap between the visas, ensuring that your stay in the UK has always been lawful. New applications should always be made before the expiry of the existing visa at the time. Your stay during the consideration period for your in-time application is considered lawful.

5-year Continuous Residence 

  • You must have lived continuously in the UK for at least 5 years. 
  • You must not have been absent from the UK, including for holidays, work, illness, pregnancy and other reasons, for more than 180 days in any 12-month period, unless any exceptions apply:
  • Assisting economic or humanitarian crisis
  • HM armed forces service
  • Other serious or compelling reasons
  • Any absence must be supported by evidence, such as
  • Letter from employer confirming annual leave, holidays arrangement, business trip, etc
  • Medical record/birth or death certificate
  • Evidence for any serious or compelling reasons

Calculation of 5-year Qualifying Residence

You can submit a settlement application up to 28 days before you would reach the end of the 5-year qualifying period.

You may calculate the relevant qualifying period by counting backward from whichever of the following is most beneficial to you:

  • the date of application
  • any date up to 28 days after the date of application
  • the date of decision

The period between entry clearance being issued and you entering the UK may be counted toward the qualifying period. Any absences between the date of issue and entry to the UK count towards the 180 days allowable absence in the continuous 12-month period. You do not need to provide evidence for this period.


For settlement applications as a skilled worker, you would need the following:

  • pass the Life in the UK Test
  • Obtain confirmation in writing from your employer to confirm that your employment will continue in the foreseeable future
  • meet the salary requirements for your occupation

The Home Office’s application fee for settlement is currently (as of February 2024) £2,885 per applicant. You do not need to pay Immigration healthcare surcharge (IHS). You will usually get a decision within 6 months if you apply using the standard service. You may get a faster decision within 5 working days if you choose to opt for the priority service, which would incur an additional fee of £500. 

We are here to help

Acquiring Indefinite Leave of Remain (settlement) is a milestone in the migration journey. You will want to ensure that nothing comes as an unwanted surprise. Our experienced immigration solicitors can guide you through this important process. 

Contact us for your enquiries about Indefinite Leave of Remain in the UK.