The Home Office has issued a new version of its Financial Requirement guidance for applications under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. The new financial rules provide a concession in relation to the minimum income threshold for applications for entry clearance, limited leave to remain and indefinite leave to remain with consideration to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. This is stated to be made to ensure applicants are not disadvantaged as a result of circumstances beyond their control because of COVID-19.
The new guidance sets out the approach one must take when deciding a case. Income received via the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme or the Coronavirus Self Employment Income Support Scheme can count as employment or self-employment income. Where there is evidence of a temporary loss of income due to COVID-19 during the period 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 the Home Office will apply the following concessions:
- A temporary loss of employment income between 1 March and 31 July 2020 due to COVID-19, will be disregarded provided the minimum income requirement was met at the required level for at least 6 months up to March 2020.
- An applicant or sponsor furloughed under the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme will be deemed as earning 100% of their salary.
- A temporary loss of annual income due to COVID-19 between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 will generally be disregarded for self-employment income, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications.
- Evidential flexibility may be applied where an applicant or sponsor experiences difficulty accessing specified evidence due to COVID-19 restrictions.
The situation and immigration rules are rapidly changing due to the ongoing pandemic circumstances. We advise you that it is important to consult with us before taking action and to ensure ongoing compliance and best practice while immigration arrangements remain affected by the pandemic. For information and consultation regarding immigration matters, contact us for advice specifically tailored to you.