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COVID-19 Update: Are You Applying To Enter The UK Or Remain On The Basis Of Family And Private Life?

Posted by: Gherson Immigration

If you are applying for entry clearance, leave to remain or Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK as the non-EEA national partner of a person who is a British Citizen, settled in the UK or in the UK with refugee leave or humanitarian protection, you are required to meet certain qualifying criteria. One of these is the financial requirement.

Unless exempt, the applicant must meet the financial requirement in the form of a minimum level of income, also referred to as a minimum income threshold. The minimum income threshold for a partner applying without dependent children is currently £18,600.

The applicant can meet the minimum income threshold in the following five ways:

  1. Income from the salaried or non-salaried employment of the applicant’s partner and/or the applicant themselves if they are in the UK with permission to work;
  2. Non-employment income e.g. income from property rental or dividends from shares;
  3. Cash savings of the applicant’s partner and/or the applicant themselves;
  4. State, occupational or private pension of the applicant’s partner and/or the applicant themselves; 
  5. Income from self-employment and income as a director or employee of a specified limited company in the UK of the applicant’s partner and/or the applicant themselves if they are in the UK with permission to work.

Some of the above sources of income may be combined with each other and each have certain requirements that must be satisfied. If you would like further information on meeting the financial requirement, please do not hesitate to contact us. 

COVID-19 update regarding the financial requirement

On 9 June 2020, The Home Office provided an update to their COVID-19 policy, providing some flexibility to those who have had their sources of income affected by COVID-19:

“If you’ve experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus, we will consider employment income for the period immediately before the loss of income due to coronavirus, provided the requirement was met for at least 6 months up to March 2020.

If your salary has reduced because you’re furloughed, we will take account of your income as though you’re earning 100% of your salary.

If you’re self-employed, a loss of annual income due to coronavirus between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 will generally be disregarded, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications”.

Although the above provides some flexibility in regards to the current rules for meeting the financial requirement, there will still be some individuals who will not be able to satisfy it because they may be relying on sources of income that have not been included within the concession. If you think that you may be affected by this, please contact us for further information.

Switching to a spouse/partner visa from within the UK 

Whilst normally a person who is visiting the UK cannot switch from the visitor category into the spouse or partner category, under the COVID-19 policy it is now possible for those with leave expiring before 31 July 2020 to make their applications to make this switch without having to leave the UK. 

Fiancés, fiancées or proposed civil partners

Many couples have unfortunately had to postpone their weddings due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

The Home Office have confirmed that those who are currently in the UK with 6 months’ leave as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, can either request an extension until 31 July 2020 by updating their records with the Coronavirus Immigration Team (please see our previous blog https://www.gherson.com/blog/covid-19-visas-extensions-now-available in regards to the COVID-19 helpline details) or apply to extend their stay for a further 6 months to allow the ceremony to take place. The latter would involve making a further, paid for, application from within the UK. 

Please note that the information in this blog is current at the date and time of posting. The situation regarding policy and guidance based on the COVID-19 pandemic is subject to change at short notice. We shall be monitoring all aspects of UK immigration which may be impacted by the coronavirus closely, so please do keep updated with further blogs and articles which we will be posting on this site.

 

The information in this blog 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 this blog. 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.

©Gherson 2020

 

Sasha Lal 

  Sasha Lal

  Consultant, Trainee Solicitor and joint head of our corporate team

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