With more than 260,000 cases and almost 37,000 fatalities (26 May 2020), the Covid-19 pandemic has directly or indirectly touched the lives of people in UK and around the globe. Coping with the effects of the pandemic has been far from easy. During times of such great stress it is particularly harder for those who are in the UK, on a temporary immigration status on the basis of their loved ones (spouse/partner etc.) and their leave is nearing expiration or those who are outside the UK and away from their loved ones.
There is much anxiety surrounding questions and concerns in the minds of those who are either in the process of applying for a Spouse visa or those who have been granted the same and their temporary leave is nearing expiration. The present circumstances give rise to numerous issues which would otherwise not be a concern for the applicants, for instance:
- considering the timing of their application (delays in application making caused due to circumstances beyond their control like closure of visa application centres),
- place of application (for instance where the applying spouse is stuck overseas and cannot make an extension application from within the UK) and
- most importantly issues regarding meeting the income threshold as set in the Immigration Rules (Appendix FM).
The Home Office has published instructions for those temporary residents and visitors who are currently in the UK and whose leave is due to expire between 24th January 2020 and 31st July 2020, their visa will be extended to 31 July 2020.
More notably, they would be able to request an extension on their stay through the available channels and those who wish to stay in the UK in the long run may apply for an extension of their current leave (further leave to remain) and meet the requirements as stipulated under the Immigration Rules for that particular category of visas.
Meeting the requirements under the Spouse (family) category of visas is no easy task even without the pandemic situation, but the present situation makes it worse for applicants! They have to find ways of meeting the English language requirement under the said route especially when very limited English language testing centres across the world are functional. The worst and most uncertain set back is the income threshold requirement which the sponsors of the applicants have to meet i.e. £18,600 p.a. During these times, when employers are forced to take drastic decisions with regard to their employees such as furloughing, salary deductions etc. it is extremely unfair for the Home Office to be expecting applicants and their sponsors to continue to meet this requirement.
With the absence of any specific and comprehensive guidance from the Home Office to address these issues, applicants would have to make use of the provisions within the present Immigration Rules to help them with their applications. There are certain measures which the applicants may employ, in order to safeguard their immigration status within the limitations of the present times and Professional immigration lawyers would be able to assist them with the same.
If you are in the UK and would like to extend your spouse visa, dependent visa or visit visa or should you be facing any of the issues described within this article, contact our UK immigration experts in Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chandigarh & London for specific advice with regard to your present immigration situation.
Receive regular updates about your UK Visa News, Guidelines, New UK Visa Law and more.