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UKSolicitorJA, Solicitor
Category: Law
Satisfied Customers: 4312
Experience:  English solicitor with over 12 years experience
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I arrived to the UK 10 years ago (after May 2004) from one

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I arrived to the UK 10 years ago (after May 2004) from one of the EU8 countries as a full-time volunteer. I was not paid, except for some pocket money/expenses. I was provided accommodation. After 9 months I applied for work with the same company and on day-to-day basis became an employee. I did not apply for WRS because I was not aware I was supposed to. I had been working for the company for 3 years and afterwards started working for my current company, for whom I have been working for over 7 years now. I would like to apply for British Citizenship now, however I have now learned I should have registered with WRS. Does my time as a volunteer (legal, but unpaid work - however not work as per employment law definition, as I understand) and continued work for the same company make me an exemption from WRS, therefore allowing me to apply for citizenship?
Unfortunately your time in the UK before 1st May 2011 will not count as you did not register under the WRS. You were required to register under the WRS even if you were volunteering.
Your clock only started ticking from 1 May 2011 and you will obtain permanent residency on 1 May 2016 provided you will be working until 1 May 2016. After that, you have to wait until 1 May 2017 to apply for naturalisation as a UK citizen.
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Customer: replied 3 years ago.

Thank you very much for your answer, I was hoping for slightly better news! Even without WRS I was paying all the taxes and was registered for NI number - clearly I was not trying to dodge the system. From your experience, can I still successfully apply for naturalisation having provided contracts, payslips etc?

Also, is failure to register under WRS an actual offence? If so, how serious? I have had several CRB checks, including enhanced checks, and it has never emerged as a problem - can it potentially affect my criminal record? Why have I never been asked about WRS by anyone?

Failure to register for WRS was not a criminal offence but as you can see, it does affect your immigration sttaus in the UK and my advise to you would be not to apply for naturalisation until May 2017, but the final decision is yours.

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