Vina Madhavji provides an update on new temporary concessions for family life applications where an applicant’s ability to meet the requirements of the immigration rules has been affected by Covid-19.
Under the current immigration rules, those in the UK on a spouse/partner visa and on the 5 year route to settlement are required to evidence, at the point of entry clearance, or on applying for an extension, that they continue to meet the financial requirement of £18,600.
The Home Office has issued new guidance on the requirements of the immigration rules this week, which is summarised below.
There is, thus far, no indication on how long the temporary concessions summarised below will remain in place.
Minimum Income Requirement (employed)
Where an individual has experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus, 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.
Where an individual’s salary has been reduced due to furlough the Home Office will consider income on the basis that the individual was earning 100% of their salary.
Minimum Income Requirement (self-employed)
If you’re self-employed, the guidance states “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”. This suggests a discretion on the part of the Home Office when deciding applications for those who are self-employed.
Inability to Provide Specified Documents due to Covid-19
In some cases, the Home Office state they will be able to decide your application without seeing certain specified documents if these cannot be obtained due to coronavirus. Otherwise, an applicant may be asked to submit the specified documents after the date of application.
Changes to the English Language Requirement
If it has not been possible to take the English language test because the test centre is closed or you have been unable to travel to the test centre at the time of application, It is possible to apply for an exemption from taking the test.
Further information can be found on gov.uk
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