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Spouse visas (Financial Requirement for Appendix FM): Coronavirus concession

The Home Office caseworker guidance requires them to make concessions on the Appendix FM (spouse visa) financial requirement of £18600 etc.

Anyone who is affected by loss of income in the period 1 March 2020 to 31 August 2020 due to Covid-19 will be able to rely on the payments from the Furlough scheme (Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme) or the similar government support for self-employed (the Coronavirus Self- Employment Income Support Scheme) as employment or self-employment income. You and your sponsor will be treated as earning 100% salary if you or your sponsor was furloughed during this time.

If you lost your job completely during this same period due to Covid-19, as long as the minimum income requirement was met at the required level for at least 6 months up to March 2020, you will be treated as having met the financial requirement over the period.

If you cannot provide specified evidence for this period because of Covid-19 then the Home Office will exercise their discretion under evidential flexibility.

You would however need to show there is a connection between the Pandemic and your income levels. This was a welcome concession although announced somewhat tardily and in various guises. When the concession was published on 8 June, an assurance given “If you have experienced a loss of income due to Coronavirus you will not be disadvantaged” was deleted within a few hours. Now however the concession begins with the words “when deciding a case, to ensure applicants are not disadvantaged as a result of circumstances beyond their control because of COVID-19…” This is considerably narrower than the earlier assurance of June.

The concessions are being made somewhat thriftily leaving many uncertain what the impact on their family reunification plans may be, adding to the anxiety levels within families, despite all indications that ongoing financial difficulties may await them whilst the cases of Coronavirus continue to grow in the UK and abroad.

Author: Nilmini Roelens

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