On 04 February 2008, the UK Border and Immigration Agency (BIA) announced that those who apply for permanent residence but do not meet the "knowledge of language and life" requirement will instead have their applications considered for an extension to their current temporary leave to remain.
Previously, BIA indicated that the extension arrangement was due to end on 31 January 2008, but the government decided to keep the arrangement in place. BIA will announce at a later date when the arrangement will come to an end.
Migrants applying for permanent residence (otherwise known as 'indefinite leave to remain') need to pass the Life in the UK test if they have a reasonable grasp of English. Migrants with little or no English ability are required to take and pass a course in English and citizenship.
There are some exemptions to the knowledge of language and life requirement. Those who are under 18 or over 65 are not required to meet the language and knowledge of life requirement. Those who have a long-standing and permanent disability that prevents them from learning English may not need to meet the requirement, as well.
Other exemptions include those qualifying for permanent residence under domestic violence rules, those applying as a parent, grandparent, or other dependant relative, those applying as a retired person of independent means, spouses and partners of British citizens and permanent residents, citizens of the European Economic Area, among others. However, these exemptions must meet the requirement when applying for British citizenship.