01 June 2018
In March, the government unexpectedly announced that Turkish businesspeople and their family members living in the UK under ECAA business visas will no longer have the right to settle in the UK. The Home Office updated its guidance as a result of an immigration tribunal ruling last year involving Hacer Aydogdu, the wife of a Turkish entrepreneur.
The Ankara Agreement is an important association agreement made in 1963 between Turkey and the European Community Association Agreement (as it was known back then). The UK became a signatory of the Ankara Agreement in 1973 when it joined the European Economic Community. The Agreement permits Turkish nationals to establish themselves as a worker or in a business in the UK and means they do not have to apply for visas under the stringent Points Based System.
A recent FOI request confirmed that between 2007 and 2017, 31,070 Turkish nationals who were living in the UK under the Agreement, were granted Indefinite Leave to Remain.
With Brexit looming, the future of visas under the Ankara Agreement was always uncertain but Turkish nationals who had established their businesses in the UK did not expect their right to obtain ILR would be removed so abruptly.
The Home Office has said that it will create a new settlement route under the Immigration Rules for businesspeople currently living in the UK under the ECAA visa scheme but they have not yet provided further details.
Many who have entered under the Agreement have not yet settled and are now concerned that they will not be able to follow through with their business plans.