The devastating Covid-19 has affected the individuals and families who were planning to make either spouse visa entry clearance or leave to remain application in the UK. This article will address key issues that applicants may face when they apply for spouses and partners to join or live with them in the UK.
Despite the lockdown, Home Office has been issuing guidance for applicants so they do not become overstayer in the UK and submit a valid application prior to visa expiry. Many people might have bigger worries at the moment, planning in advance and ensuring that they are in a position to make application in good time to avoid complication further down the line.
Depending on how you intend to meet the appendix FM financial requirements, applicants may want to bring forward or move back their intended date of application. The Home Office’s latest update to their Covid-19 policy (9 June 2020) now provides some flexibility for those who have had their sources of income affected by COVID-19.
If you have experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus, we 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.
If your salary has reduced because you’re furloughed, we will take account of your income as though you’re earning 100% of your salary.
If you’re self-employed, 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 will give more reassurance to individuals that their loss of income should not affect their ability to remain in the UK. Of course, this will not assist everyone – for example, individuals who have had work and pay reduced, but not through furlough, or individuals who did not commence their employment six months before March 2020.
English language and Life in the UK
The latest guidance confirms this, in stating:
In some cases, we will be able to decide your application without seeing certain specified documents if you cannot get them due to coronavirus. Otherwise, you may be asked to submit the specified documents after the date of application.
Changes to the English language requirement
If you’re asked to take an English language test as part of your application, you can apply for an exemption if the test centre was closed or you couldn’t travel to it due to coronavirus when you applied
There is no specific mention in the policy guidance on the Life in the UK test.
For those in the UK as a fiancé(e), it may be necessary to extend your leave for a further period in order for your marriage to take place. The Immigration Rules make a specific provision for this:
‘E-LTRP.1.11. If the applicant is in the UK with leave as a fiancé(e) or proposed civil partner and the marriage or civil partnership did not take place during that period of leave, there must be a good reason why and evidence that it will take place within the next 6 months.’
This would involve making a further, paid for application from within the UK. For those who do not want to pay for a further application, they could take advantage of the Home Office’s extension for those with leave expiring before 31 July 2020. However, there are potential risks with this approach.
For expert advice regarding an application for fiancé visa, spouse visa, civil partner visa or unmarried partner visa feel free to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Connaught Law and authors accept no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Connaught Law. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Connaught Law.