Unlawful Residence in the UK and the 20 Year Rule: New Case Study

Updated: Feb 16, 2021

A recent case has further cemented the principle that long residence under the 20 year rule, does not have to be lawful. The case concerns a Mr. Mahmood (Mahmood (paras. S-LTR.1.6. & S-LTR.4.2.; Scope) Bangladesh [2020] UKUT 376 (IAC).

Mr Mahmood lived in the U.K. for over 20 years, with significant periods of unlawful residence. He accessed services and employment in the U.K. using the identity of a British Citizen.

After 20 years, Mr Mahmood applied for long residence - an immigration rule which allows people to legally remain in the UK after 20 continuous years of residence. To qualify under this rule, a person is not required to have lived in the UK lawfully, but simply “continuously”.

The Home Office refused Mr Mahmood’s application on 'suitability' grounds. In their view, he did not qualify under the long residence rule as he had lied to the government for many years, by using a false identity.

The case eventually ended up in the Upper Tribunal, where the judges disagreed with the Home Office. In their view, the only reason his application should have been rejected is if he lied to the Home Office in previous representations. His dishonesty to HMRC and other institutions did not necessarily prevent him from relying on the 20 Long Residence rule.

Mr Mahmood won his case and was allowed to remain in the UK.

Our Note:

Dishonesty Is common when dealing with long residence cases, so this outcome is not surprising to immigration lawyers. This decision is good news for many people who have lived in the UK for 20 years or more, with periods of unlawful residence.

For more information on the long residence rules, please contact us.

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