The Coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic has had a devastating impact around the world causing chaos for businesses and employees. The UK Visas and Immigration department of the Home Office has also experienced disruption as visa applications centres in the UK and around the world have been forced to close. The virus has affected all types of visa applications. In particular, those applications where British Sponsors have to meet a minimum income requirement such as UK Spouse and Fiancé visa applications. British Sponsors currently face redundancy, loss of income or maybe put on furlough. The Home Office has published further guidance for British Sponsors in relation to meeting the financial requirement.
How to meet the financial requirement during Coronavirus?
The main concern for British Sponsors who are applying for UK Spouse visas for their partners is the loss of income during the pandemic. On 9 June 2020, the Home Office published further guidance for British Sponsors clarifying that there will be a concession in place for those who have impacted financially. For those affected, the Home Office 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. The Home Office has also made the position clear for those who are self-employed stating 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.
The above allowance is not limited to entry clearance applications and the same applies to all leave to remain applications. However, the Home Office did not clarify the position on those British Sponsors who wished to rely on shares and stocks, which may have adversely impacted or those whose job offer has been rescinded.
Can I meet the financial requirement on furlough leave?
Yes, if your salary has been adversely impacted because your employer has furloughed you, the Home Office will take account of your salary as though you are earning 100% of your salary. However, the onus will be on you to provide the correct evidence demonstrating that the financial requirement would have been satisfied under normal circumstances. Our Immigration Team specialises in complex UK Spouse visa applications. In particular, UK Spouse visa applications where Applicants rely on unconventional methods to meet the financial requirement.
What if I do not meet the financial requirement?
There will be some British Sponsors who cannot rely on the above concession and may not meet the financial requirement under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. There are provisions in the Immigration Rules that allow the grant of leave to enter or remain under ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ whereby the Sponsor is unable to meet a specific requirement. The test for ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ is high and to submit a successful application you must show that a refusal would result in a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights (ECHR) because it would result in “unjustifiably harsh consequences” for the family. The issue of ‘Exceptional Circumstances’ is addressed in two parts of Appendix FM. GEN 3.1 states”:
(a) the financial requirement in paragraph E-ECP.3.1., E-LTRP.3.1. (in the context of an application for limited leave to remain as a partner), E-ECC.2.1. or E-LTRC.2.1. applies, and is not met from the specified sources referred to in the relevant paragraph; and
(b) it is evident from the information provided by the applicant that there are exceptional circumstances which could render refusal of entry clearance or leave to remain a breach of Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights, because such refusal could result in unjustifiably harsh consequences for the applicant, their partner or a relevant child; then
the decision-maker must consider whether such financial requirement is met through taking into account the sources of income, financial support or funds set out in paragraph 21A(2) of Appendix FM-SE (subject to the considerations in sub-paragraphs (3) to (8) of that paragraph).”
What to do if your UK Spouse visa entry clearance has expired?
If your UK Spouse visa has been granted you would have been given a 30-day entry clearance visa. This short-term visa would allow you to travel to the UK to collect your Biometric Residence Permit (BRP), which would have details of your 30-month visa. Due to the Coronavirus pandemic and the travel restrictions a large pool of people will find themselves with an expired entry clearance visa. The Home Office has recognised this problem and has set up a designated email where applicants can request a replacement visa with revised validity dates free of charge until the end of this calendar year.
To make a request, contact the Coronavirus Immigration Help Centre. You must include your name, nationality, date of birth and your GWF reference number with ‘REPLACEMENT 30 DAY VISA’ in the subject line. Following this a visa application centre will contact you when they reopen to arrange a replacement entry clearance visa. The Home Office has made it clear that applicants will not be penalised for not collecting their BRP while Coronavirus continues to disrupt society.
How our immigration solicitors can help with UK Spouse visa applications
Our immigration solicitors in London specialise in UK Spouse visa applications and prepare applications to the highest standard. We have an impeccable track history of submitting successful visa applications for a range of clients from all around the world. The key to submitting a successful UK Spouse visa application is being aware of the relevant Immigration Rules and submitting the correct supporting documents. Our immigration solicitors in London guide Applicants through the requirements and prepare detailed legal submissions in support of the application. In addition to the legal representations, our team of solicitors also provides multiple substantial reviews of the application bundle to ensure that the correct documentary evidence is submitted. We also prepare and assist with the submission of the application.
Using our Immigration Solicitors in London to submit successful UK Spouse visa applications
Legal representatives, such as our specialist immigration and visa law firm, are qualified to advise you on immigration law and your immigration matter. You can instruct one of our immigration and visa legal representatives to successfully assist you with an application to apply for a UK Spouse visa application. Our solicitors and Barristers will help you comply with the Home Office’s requirements and meet the Immigration Rules.
Caseworkers at the Home Office are trained to reject applications, which are improperly prepared, for example by failing to provide the correct supporting evidence. In order to ensure your application succeeds, our solicitors and barristers will ensure all specified documents must be provided.
The UK Immigration Rules are complex and a legal representative can help ensure that your application meets the Immigration Rules.
Successful UK Spouse visa applications with our Immigration Solicitors in London
Our team of solicitors and barristers are specialist immigration lawyers who act in your best interest. We offer a client-tailored approach from the outset. From the very first meeting, we will be able to advise you in respect of your prospects of submitting a UK Spouse visa application before your application even reaches the Home Office UK Visa & Immigration department. We can assist you with the preparation and submission of a UK Spouse visa application and ensure that you meet all the requirements under the Immigration Rules.
We are based in the legal epicentre of London, just across the road from the Royal Courts of Justice in order to ensure we get the best results for our clients. We are minutes away from the Immigration and Asylum Tribunal, the Royal Courts of Justice and other central London courts.
Preparation is the key to successful immigration applications. Our UK immigration and visa solicitors are here to guide you through the complex immigration rules and requirements. If you wish to meet one of our lawyers, please call our Immigration Team so we can assess your case and arrange your legal consultation to discuss a UK Spouse visa application.
Contact our London immigration solicitors on 02071830570 or complete our contact form.