As of the 1st October 2012, changes made through the Legal Aid, Sentencing and Punishment of Offenders Act 2012 (s.140 in particular) mean that immigration or nationality decision making, including initial decisions and any subsequent proceedings, are exempt from the Rehabilitation of Offenders Act 1974. This means that spent convictions can also be considered as part of these processes. This includes convictions obtained before October 2012.
It does not, however, affect any proceedings which began before October 2012 (or decisions made but not finally determined).
Please note: At the time of writing, the UKBA’s website has yet to be amended to reflect the above changes, and hence references to the ROA still remain in our own information above. This will be amended in due course, in line with changes to the UKBA website. It is possible, for example, that the UKBA will set their own guidelines for disregarding certain convictions. Check out our Coming to the UK section for the last information.
All these changes mean is that the UKBA now has the freedom to take into account spent convictions. The UKBA are yet to publish their own guidelines on how they intend to put this possibility into operation.
A useful article on this change is available from the Immigration Lawyers Gherson.