Monday, 23 July 2018

10 common mistakes when meeting the Financial Requirement £18,600 for a UK Spouse visa

#1 Most common - submitting “everything I have’. 

Some payslips, a tax return, some savings plus a property deed for good measure. Surely, should work? It may sound logical to provide as much as possible, this is often a nightmare scenario for immigration lawyers and often a direct path to a visa refusal. Financial Requirement is strictly based on the ‘rules’ : what income can be used, how various sources can be combined and what documents are needed. We often say there is a 75-page office guidance just on the finances: https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/636618/Appendix_FM_1_7_Financial_Requirement_Final.pdf 


#2 Savings - it’s not £18,600 and not £16,000. 

The real amount (for this purpose) is calculated using this formula: threshold you need to meet (such as £18,600) x 2.5 plus £16,000.
If you are using savings alone, it would be £18,600 x 2.5 + £16,000 = £62,500! 


#3 Employment -  the minimum is 6 months for the same employer. 

In short, you can’t get a job today and apply for a visa tomorrow. You have to stay on that job for 6 months first. 


#4 Employment again -  the maximum is 12 months for the calculation. But don’t need to be all 12 months. 

If you can't meet the previous 6-month rule, let’s say you started your current job last month and your salary is £18,600 pa. 
You have to meet the additional rule of having earned £18,600 in the last 12 months- from any number of jobs. 
This may sound straightforward but there is a lot of confusion about this 2nd rule. 
For example, the 12 months in question are 12 months immediately before the date of visa application and NOT 12 months on the previous job!
Also, 12 months in maximum, so if you have earned £18,600 in, say, 8 months, that’s sufficient. 


#5 Returning to the UK from abroad - more serious than you think. 

This tends to be one of the biggest problems people face. Normally, a British spouse needs a job offer in the UK, which is very difficult to secure while living abroad. 
And we often see the non-British husband working in a well-paid skilled job in their home country of, say, New Zealand, while the British wife stays at home looking after the children. 
In this  case, the UK visa rules expect the British wife to have a job offer in the UK.  The common-sense arguments - that the New Zealander husband is a skilled professional who would find a job in the UK in no time - would fall on deaf ears. 
We have a separate post on how you could meet the Financial Requirement while living abroad: http://1st4immigration-visas.blogspot.com/2018/06/5-sure-ways-to-meet-financial.html?m=1 


#6 Property. 

A very British thing! How can we use it for the UK Spouse visa? 

You cannot use the value of the property. Wherever it is, whether it is your home or a buy-to-let. 
But if you sell it, and deposit the cash in a bank account, then you can. After all applicable deductions (mortgage, fees etc) and taxes. 
The amount you need is the same as under the savings category above (ie not £18,600). 
You can also use income from property if it add up to £18,600 in the last 12 months (not in a tax year!). 
Interestingly, here the amount we  go by is gross rent as on the tenancy agreement - not the profit. 
Be careful if you own a property through a holding structure, such as a limited company, which will be very different. 


#7 Self-employment income is different from the rest and it's based on what’s “on paper’. 

As we are one of the specialist firms that work with self-employment income for UK visas, the biggest challenge is to establish what the client has "on paper”.
Are you a sole trader or have a limited company? 
Is your business in the UK or abroad? 
If you are a contractor, we will still treat you as ‘having a business’, even if in your mind you feel you have a job. You may count income paid by your ‘employer’ but we will count income you personally receive from your ‘business’. 
You also have to go by the last financial year, even if it was only finished yesterday. The normal HMRC deadlines of submitting the tax returns 9 months later won’t apply! 


#8 Your tax return is rarely useful! And usually too old. 

Another common-sense approach would be to use your latest available tax return, showing income of minimum £18,600. 
Perfectly understandable and useful in all walks of the British life - except when it comes to the Home Office.
Speaking with a good-natured humour (there is place for it in the visa work) , we have to ‘fight it off’ on the daily basis.
Unless you have a business under your own name (a sole trader , ie ‘self-employed’ as HMRC calls you), your tax return is NOT relevant for a UK visa. 
We simply don’t need it. 

If we do need it (ie if you are a sole trader), what do we mean by ‘too old’? As above, it has to cover the tax year that’s passed, even if it finished only yesterday. 
Let’s say today is 6th April and the UK tax year finished yesterday- 5th April. You have to prepare tax return for the year finished ‘yesterday’, even though HMRC gives you time until 31 January next year. 

If you have a limited company, your tax return is still irrelevant because your income will be calculated on salary and dividends. 


#9 Family support.

Under the current rules, support from any third party isn’t allowed, even if it is close family. Even if it is a joint bank account with a close family member (other than your partner). 
But that’s on the date of visa application. 
If your family, usually parents, have money and want to help with a visa, they need to deposit the cash to your and/or your partner’s account , then you need to wait for 6 months not touching it. Then you can apply for a visa. By that time, on the date of application, you will have had the savings for 6 months in your name(s). 


#10 What can increase your chances? 

We put this as a separate point because this is a very common question. 
The answer is “nothing”. 
You can't increase your chances, so to speak. 
Instead, you either meet the rules or you can't. 
This visa is based on the rules: if you don't meet them - you don't get a visa. But if you can meet the rules - you get the visa! 


For individual advice or to make an application, please visit our website, Spouse Visa page:  or contact us: info@1st4immigration.com. We respond emails on the same working day.

1st 4Immigration Ltd, authorised by the OISC, ref 200800152. We operate at the highest Level 3 of expertise. Office address: 68 King William Street, City of London, London, EC4M 7DZ.

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