One of the requirements to be satisfied in order to be granted a visa on the basis of being the partner of a British citizen is the financial requirement.
Sponsors must prove that they receive income above the required threshold from a permitted source or, alternatively, hold sufficient cash savings.
In the case of Begum (employment income; Rules/Article 8)  UKUT 115 (IAC), the question before the court was whether a sponsor needs to be meeting the financial requirement at both the date of application and the date of decision.
In this particular case, Ms Begum applied for entry clearance as the spouse of a British citizen in February 2018. In order to meet the financial requirement, she relied on her husband’s employment income in the six months preceding the date of application. Her application was refused in June 2018. The Home Office decided that Ms Begum did not meet the financial requirement due to a number of factors, including the fact that they had been unable to reach her husband’s employer to verify his salary details. As it happened, Ms Begum’s husband had left this particular employer after the submission of his wife’s visa application.
Ms Begum appealed against the application refusal. The first hearing in the appeal took place in May 2019, at which point Ms Begum’s husband had become self-employed. The First-tier Tribunal found that the financial requirement was met at the date of Ms Begum’s application however, Judge Gibb dismissed the appeal on the basis that the husband’s employment, which was relied on for the visa application, no longer existed at the date the application was decided.
Ms Begum took her challenge to the Upper Tribunal, and succeeded. The Upper Tribunal allowed the appeal against the decision of the First-tier Tribunal, stating that the drafting of the Immigration Rules references an assessment of the financial circumstances of the sponsor at the date of application and not at any other date in the future. The key points from the Upper Tribunal’s judgment are as follows:
- the sponsor’s financial circumstances are to be assessed purely as at the date of application;>
- the above finding relates also to applications for leave to remain i.e. extension applications made from inside the UK; and
- some requirements, such as the need to prove that there will be adequate accommodation for the applicant and sponsor in the UK, are drafted in a way that makes it clear they should continue to be met in the near future and not just at the date of application.
The findings of the Upper Tribunal in this case provided some much-needed clarity and further highlight the intricacies of the Immigration Rules. In particular, with the unpredictable processing times of applications of this nature, it is comforting to know that sponsors have the flexibility to change jobs whilst a spouse visa application is pending, provided the financial requirement was satisfied at the date of application.
The information in these blogs is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in these blogs. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Consultant in our Private Client Department