FOREIGNERS applying for indefinite leave to stay in Britain are facing difficulties because of an immigration rule change.
Huddersfield solicitor Jaz Matharoo says many of her clients applying for indefinite leave have been unaware that they must first pass a citizenship test.
The test used to be compulsory only for people applying to be naturalised as British citizens, but in July the Border and Immigration Agency decided everyone wanting to apply for indefinite leave had to take the test.
This has caused problems for many people who have waited until the end of their current visas to apply.
If they cannot get an extension on their visa to allow them time to pass the test, they face having to go back to their home country to study and retake the test.
However, there are no guarantees that they will get another visa back into Britain.
Miss Matharoo, who specialises in immigration and family law at Parker Bird, said: “They may have come here as spouses and have children or they may be in the middle of their studies.
“If their legal status runs out technically they have to go back.
“A lot of people are not aware of the rule change.”
The test examines a person’s knowledge of life in Britain, including questions on laws, Parliament and English language.
Miss Matharoo said: “There are some questions British people would struggle to answer immediately, so people do need time to study. There is also a waiting list for the test. I am wanting to raise awareness that people cannot leave their application until the last minute.”
The cost of applying for indefinite leave has also increased. In April it cost just £335 and it now costs £750.