Thanks for your Question.
Whilst I appreciate the level of detail you have gone in to and it's plain to see that you have made a notable contribution to society in this country I'm afraid that it will get little traction with the UKBA if you attempt in some way to apply for most types of visas. An overstay of this type is grounds for refusal for most types of visas.
If a person has been in the UK with a mixture of legal leave to remain and having no legal leave to remain then they must complete 14 years of continuous residence in the UK in order to make an application based on residency. I assume you do not have this and it would be imprudent to attempt to stay and attain this for any considerable length of time because it may be that the rules are revised by the time you come to apply.
If you leave the country and make another application for a Tier 2 visa then it will be rejected on the basis of the overstay.
If you end up being deported by the UKBA at their cost then you will receive a ban.
Your best possible chance of obtaining leave to remain in this country is on the basis of your relationship with the woman you are seeing. Overstays are not permitted to form a general reason for refusal in cases based on relationships under Immigration Rules 320.
In order for you to be eligible to apply for an unmarried parent's visa you would have had to have been cohabiting (ie. actually physically living together) for a period of two years. If you attain this period of time with your partner and are able to demonstrate this to the UKBA by documentary evidence (eg. Correspondence, shared tenancy agreements, shared utility bills etc) then you may be able to apply for settlement provided she is a UK citizen or has ILR and you meet the following criteria:-
- you have suitable accommodation which is owned or lived in only by you and your household, and where you and your dependants can live without any help from public funds
- you can support yourselves and any dependants without any help from public funds
- you intend to live together permanently
- your partner is not under 21, and
- you are not under 21 at the date of arrival in the UK.
The UKBA would require you to return home to make the application from there, however there is nothing to stop you seeing an immigration solicitor and preparing the application prior to your leaving so that you can submit it to the UK embassy in SA straight away. You would have to submit it as soon as you return to limit the effect of the break in cohabitation in any event..
In summary your chance of success in apply for a non-relationship based visa in country are zero.
Your chances of applying (out of country) for an unmarried partners visa if you meet the eligibility criteria are decent.
I would also keep quiet about you being illegal to your employer. They can be fined up to £10, 000.00 if they employ someone within legal leave to remain.
I am very sorry it could not be better news, I hope you are able to see that there is little point in my sugar coating your position for you.
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