20 Years Rule

Danielle Cohen
By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor Linkedin
Danielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
2 February 2021

Many times we are asked to make applications under the 20 years long residence rules.  Many of the people who live in the UK, in order to survive assume other people’s name or identity. This is not considered to be false representations for the purposes of the 20 years long residence application. This point has been established recently in a case called “Mahmood”.

The Bangladeshi national has been living in the UK since 1996 but not in his real name.  To his employers and other people he was a British citizen, having adopted the identity of a British man by the name of Rezaul Karim.  In 2009 he applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain in his own name and admitted that he had a fake identity.  The Home Office refused the application but he waited until he reached the 20 years continuous residence in the UK. On that basis he applied again and the Home Office tried to fight this application arguing he should be refused because his presence is not conducive to the public good (because of his conduct and because of his suitability because he made false representations).  On appeal the First Tier Tribunal Judge backed the Home Office position saying that Mr Mahmood had engaged in sustained deceit over the course of more than a decade.  However, by the time it reached the Upper Tribunal, the Home Office accepted that the false representations had to be relevant to the application they had considered and not to past conduct.  The false representation Mr Mahmood made might have been real, but he never lied to the Home Office, and therefore the Upper Tribunal stated “The appellant has consistently informed the Respondent that whilst he dishonestly assumed an identity and National Insurance Number to secure employment, and used the identity of a British citizen to secure access to the NHS he was open and honest to the Respondent as to the employment and tax documents and therefore could succeed in the appeal. Because the purpose of the 20 years Rule is to demonstrate long residence and no false representation were made to the Home Office.  With no suitability bar left standing, he won his appeal. 

This decision is particularly important to all the clients we represent in relation to the 20 years rule and we have no doubt that we will be able to win even more cases utilising this ground breaking decision.