According to the latest guidance on Long Residence and indefinite leave to remain, which was published on 8th May 2015, there is a new element of discretion in relation to continuous residence and allows for a grant of leave outside the Immigration Rules in appropriate circumstances. The Guidance states:
if the applicant has been absent from the UK for more than 6 months in on one period and more than 18 months in total, the application should normally be refused. However, it may be appropriate to exercise discretion over excess absences in compelling or compassionate circumstances.
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