By Danielle Cohen Immigration Law Solicitor LinkedinDanielle Cohen has over 20 years of experience as a lawyer and a reputation for offering professional, honest and expert advice.
The UK Immigration Rules set out the requirements for a spouse visa, namely the genuineness of relationship and the meeting of the £18,600 financial income threshold. The reality of these requirements is that some applicants cannot meet these financial requirements.
However, Covid19 and its consequences have become an additional problem. There are those that are already in the country and now applying for an extension of the spouse visa or for indefinite leave to remain but will not be able to meet the minimum income requirements as normal because they or their partners may not be able to continue working in order to meet the requirements. Some people who are employed are eligible for support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This is a Government scheme that helps employers pay 80% of the wages of employees who would otherwise have been laid off due to Covid19. Support is also being made available for self-employed people, who can claim 80% of their average income from self-employment, as long as they submitted tax returns for the financial year 2018/2019, but it is not clear if in every case the 80% government contribution will enable the parties to meet the financial threshold.
However, if you are a couple where one partner has no recourse to public funds as a condition of the visa, the other would not be able to claim Universal Credit to cover both parties of the marriage. The JCWI called on the Government to lift the “no recourse to public funds” restriction during the pandemic.