Spouse visa applications and COVID-19 concession – a brief introduction
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If you have Indefinite Leave to Remain in the UK or if you are a British Citizen, you can sponsor your spouse from overseas to join you in the UK on a permanent basis, under the spouse visa route.
Your spouse will be allowed to live and work in the UK, initially for a period of two and a half years, without recourse to public funds.
Your spouse will then need to apply for an extension, 28 days before the spouse visa is due to expire, following which your spouse will be granted a further two and a half years visa, to live and work in the UK.
After completion of five years, your spouse will be allowed to apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain, followed by a citizenship application.
What are the requirements for a spouse visa?
The main requirements for a spouse visa are as follows:
• The Sponsor has physically met the spouse.
• You must be lawfully married to one another – a marriage conducted overseas, for example, Pakistan, India or any other country, will be recognised in the UK, as long as it was conducted in accordance with the law of that particular country.
• The sponsor and the spouse must intend to live with one another permanently in the UK.
• The sponsor must ensure that they meet the financial requirement.
• The sponsor must have suitable accommodation for the spouse (and children, if applicable) to be able to join them in the UK.
• The spouse must satisfy the English language requirements and obtain a TB clearance Certificate if applicable.
What is the financial requirement?
The Sponsor must be earning at least £18,600.00 gross per annum in order to sponsor the spouse. Additional income is required if children are also being sponsored at the same time. An additional gross annual income of £3,800 is required for the first child sponsored in addition to the partner and an additional £2,400 for each further child.
The Immigration Rules set out the evidence that must be submitted with an application in order to satisfy the income threshold.
There are various ways in which the financial requirement can be met. Combined income and prospective income can also be taken into account. Your Solicitor will be able to assess your case and advise you on the best possible way to satisfy this requirement.
Cash savings of £62.500 can also be used to satisfy the financial threshold for a spouse visa. There are many other important factors to take into account if savings are relied upon.
It is important to seek appropriate advice from your Solicitor in this regard, as failure to do so can result in your application being rejected.
Meeting the financial threshold in light of COVID-19
We have seen how the effect of the global pandemic has cost many people to lose their jobs, and as a result of this, families are separated as the financial threshold under the immigration rules can no longer be satisfied, which ultimately means you are no longer able to sponsor your loved ones to join you in the UK.
The good news is that the Secretary of State for the Home Department has introduced a concession policy that applies to individuals, who have suffered from temporary loss of income, owing to the pandemic.
The concession applies to individuals who have experienced the loss of income between 1 March 2020 and 31 May 2021.
What is the concession?
Income received through the following means will count as employment/self-employment:
• Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme
• Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme
Temporary loss of income between 1 March 2020 – 31 May 2021:
• This will be disregarded provided the Sponsor can demonstrate that the income threshold was met for at least six months prior to the income loss.
• If you have been furloughed, you will be deemed as earning 100% of your salary.
• For self-employed individuals, temporary loss of income will also be disregarded between 1 March 2020 – 31 May 2021, and there will be no impact on employment income from the same period for future applications.
It is important that you seek appropriate legal advice in this regard, as your Solicitor will be able to advise you on how to prepare your application properly, and also, you will be advised on the type of supporting documents you will need to submit to satisfy the financial threshold requirement.
It is important that you submit the correct supporting evidence with the application to ensure high chances of your application being accepted.
Here at Henry Hyams, we guide our client’s throughout their application process. We complete the necessary paperwork, advise on the supporting documents and also submit the same in the prescribed manner, for consideration by the Entry Clearance Officer or the Home Office caseworker.
If you would like to discuss coming to live in the UK, please contact our immigration team. Henry Hyams has a highly experienced immigration team to guide you at every stage of your application.
Henry Hyams Solicitors have been providing legal advice for over 80 years. We have experienced solicitors who have been providing immigration advice, assistance to clients nationally and internationally for many years.