I have an indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK. I started a consultancy assignment in my home country about 9 months ago and since then have travelled back to London multiple times. I want to know that if I return within two years to living here permanently, would my ILR be under any threat of revocation? I don't intend to continue this consultancy work beyond 2 years.
In theory, your ILR is always under threat of being revoked if you have indeed actually moved your center of life out of the UK. As long as you continue to demonstrate and genuinely have your center of life in the UK, you should be fine. Make sure you never get stamped as a 'visitor'. If asked, always explain clearly that you are doing short-term consultancy that requires your presence. Maintain a residence in the UK or a storage unit for your things, and have that paperwork on you every trip. The 2 year limit is sort of an acknowledgement that sometimes life happens, and people may have to leave the country for significant periods of time to deal with that sort of thing. As long as your intention is to return to live within two years, and you actually do so, there should be no problems.
Your ILR is under threat of revocation, yes, but you are probably fine so long as you return frequently, you have proof of your ongoing life in the UK, and your intention on returning each time is to continue living in the UK.
Looking online, there are numerous older stories of people that have attempted to maintain their status by returning occasionally, only to have their ILR revoked and replaced with a short-term visit visa. In some cases it seems like this was because they were incorrectly granted a visitor visa at the border. Example 1, Example 2.
The Revoking of Indefinite Leave to Remain document will probably be of use to you.
Given the absence of recent examples, it's possible that the guidance has changed over time, and UKBA are now less likely to revoke ILR than they were a few years ago. I've no clear proof of that, however.
Given historical commentary on sites:
- It seems that it's up to the (senior) border agents that interview you to determine whether you are indeed still permanently resident in the UK. If the agent determines that you have moved, or that you do not intend to remain in the UK, they could revoke your ILR. Like all situations where individual judgement is involved, there's a chance the decision could go either way.
- Note that if at any stage you are out of the country for 2 years, you will lose your ILR. See the official guidance for details.
- Additionally, if you enter the country on any other class of visa (eg, a visitor visa), it invalidates your ILR.
Overall, my suggestion is that you go through the process of getting British Citizenship. Given the current uncertainty around Brexit, it's unlikely that gaining citizenship will be made either easier and cheaper.
Note that unless you have very unusual circumstances you won't need a lawyer. You can do the primary paperwork yourself, and then use the very affordable Nationality Checking Service to verify your paperwork and details for around £80. They will also return your passport and other documents to you immediately, and the application process is faster.
You will, however, have to pay the full Fees for Citizenship Applications
If you do apply for citizenship, it's important to note that you should be very aware of Can a naturalised British citizen live anywhere in the world without losing UK citizenship? when dealing with the naturalisation process, especially if you are travelling back and forth from your origin country.