Turkish businesspeople and their families in Britain under a popular visa program will no longer be eligible for a class of indefinite visa extensions, but will still be able to apply for multi-year extensions, the U.K. government announced Friday.
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The U.K. will no longer accept applications for indefinite leave to remain (ILR) visas from Turkish citizens who are in this country on special ECAA business visas, Britain’s Home Office said.
The office said they will introduce into the immigration rules "a new ILR category for current Turkish ECAA business persons.”
The latest update came after a U.K. tribunal ruling in a case related to an application from a Turkish national’s wife, Hacer Aydogdu, the Home Office said.
“The Home Office will no longer accept applications for Indefinite Leave to Remain (ILR) under the Turkish European Communities Association Agreement (ECAA) Business Persons category,” the Home Office said on its website.
The tribunal’s previous decision said “the settlement of Turkish nationals and their dependents did not fall within the scope of a provision of the European Community Association Agreement with Turkey, called the ‘standstill clause’.”
The Home Office said applications until March 16 -- today -- would continue to be processed and those who would like to stay in the U.K. and carry on under the Ankara Agreement visa will be able to apply for extensions of “up to 3 years at a time, provided they continue to meet the relevant requirements.” Those applications will be free of charge as before, it added.
“Any ECAA settlement applications postmarked prior to 16 March will be processed under the same terms as before,” the updated guidelines said.
The ECAA businesspersons’ visa has been a very popular initiative, with up to 20,000 Turks now living in the U.K. under the Ankara Agreement. Prior to the latest decision, Turkish citizens could apply for a one-year visa which could be followed by a three-year visa under the ECAA scheme before becoming eligible for an ILR visa.
The visa scheme is based on the 1963 Ankara Agreement between Turkey and the European Economic Community, a predecessor to the EU.