Are you worried about loss of employment or self-employment income due to COVID-19?
Good news to those who are applying for a UK visa under the Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules, i.e. applications based on the family ties to the UK as a spouse, an unmarried partner or parent. On 13 October 2020, the Home Office has published its updated guidance on Appendix FM Financial Requirement to amend its coronavirus (COVID-19) concession. Applicants who are applying for entry clearance, extension and indefinite leave to remain could potentially benefit from the concession.
If you are worried about not meeting the Financial Requirement for your spouse, unmarried partner or parent visa application due to the pandemic, you may rely on the COVID-19 concession.
For applicants who are relying on employment, the Home Office will disregard a temporary loss of income from your employment between 1 March 2020 and 1 January 2021 due to COVID-19, providing that the minimum income requirement was met for at least 6 months before March 2020.
The Home Office will consider applicants or their sponsors who are furloughed under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme as if they are earning 100% of their salary.
For applicants who are relying on self-employment income, a temporary loss of income between 1 March 2020 and 1 January 2021 due to the pandemic may also be disregarded. It would also be disregarded for any impact on employment income level from the same period for future applications.
We strongly advise everyone who wishes to rely on the concession to keep the evidence of any loss of employment or self-employment income to prove the loss was beyond your control because of the pandemic.
The evidence can include redundancy letters, emails, any payslips confirming furlough scheme payments and any other documents confirming the COVID-19 impact on the loss of income (e.g. news announcements of redundancy announcements by big companies).
Having difficulties in providing specified documents due to pandemic?
The Home Office may apply evidential flexibility if you cannot get the document in a correct format because of coronavirus. However, all efforts should be used to get the correct documents and any reason for the inability to obtain them should be provided to the Home Office.
English Language Requirement
Applicants would need to show that they have met the English language requirement in their applications. The Home Office also allows applicants to apply for an exemption if you cannot take the test because the test centre was closed, or you cannot travel to it due to coronavirus. Reliance on the exemption may mean that your application will be approved under a 10-year route to settlement, so it is important to consider alternative options before asking for an exemption.
Applicants can also submit their applications without having your English language certificate to avoid any overstaying period, and caseworkers will consider your application once the certificate is in place. This however may mean that your application decision will be delayed and on hold until you can provide an English language certificate.
How we can help?
Family visas under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules are one of the more complex applications. If you would like to rely on the concession for financial requirement, we strongly suggest seeking help from a professional immigration advisor. You can contact our highly experienced immigration solicitors from Taylor Hampton to find out more information and to assist you with the application for a family visa.
Please, then, get in touch by calling us on 020 7427 5972 or submit an enquiry HERE. And, of course you can follow us for similar content on our social media platforms on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter.