Economic migrants in the UK under the Points Based System in an eligible category for settlement need to make sure that they do not exceed the permitted absences from the UK to qualify.

The current limit is no more than 180 days absence from the UK during each 12 months of the five year period they wish to rely on. Currently migrants are able to include the time between the date their visa has been granted and the date on which they travel to the UK towards the five year qualifying period. This is provided the gap does not exceed 90 days. The surreptitiously introduced change to the policy guidance now states that from April 2016 this period will count as an absence and will form part of the 180 days allowed within the 12 month period.

Therefore those who are looking to apply for settlement on or after 6 April 2016 should check to see if the period between their visa grant date and their entry to the UK will push their absences for that first 12 month period over the 180 days limit.