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How to Satisfy the Appendix FM Partner Visa Financial Requirement Based on Employment Income (Part 1)

Navigating the intricate landscape of UK immigration law can be a daunting task, especially when it comes to meeting the stringent partner and family visa financial requirements outlined in Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules. For individuals seeking entry clearance or leave to remain under Appendix FM by relying on employment income (Categories A and B), understanding and providing the correct evidence is paramount.

In this comprehensive guide, we delve into the evidential standards that must be met by spouse, civil partner, unmarried partner, fiance and other family visa applicants relying on Category A employment income – that is where the individual has been working with their employer for 6 months or more.  If you have been working with your current employer for less than 6 months, or have a variable income, please see Part 2 of this series on the requirements for Category B employees.

We have published previous articles on how to meet the financial requirement when your sponsor is not working, when relying on income from self-employment and when combining sources of income to meet the requirements

What Is the Financial Requirement for Partner and Family Visa Applicants Relying on Employment Income Under Appendix FM?

Following the changes to the minimum income thresholds which came into force on 11 April 2024, the financial requirements under Appendix FM read as follows:

E-LTRP.3.1. The applicant must provide specified evidence, from the sources listed in paragraph E-LTRP.3.2., of-

(a) a specified gross annual income of at least £29,000

(b) specified savings of:

(i) £16,000; and

(ii) additional savings of an amount equivalent to 2.5 times the amount which is the difference between the gross annual income from the sources listed in paragraph E-LTRP.3.2.(a)-(f) and the total amount required under paragraph E-LTRP.3.1.(a); or

(c) the requirements in paragraph E-LTRP.3.3. being met, unless paragraph EX.1. applies.

E-LTRP.3.2. When determining whether the financial requirement in paragraph E-LTRP. 3.1. or E-LTRP.3.7 is met only the following sources may be taken into account-

  • (a) income of the partner from specified employment or self-employment;
  • (b) income of the applicant from specified employment or self-employment unless they are working illegally;

In respect of entry clearance applications, the rules under E-ECP.3.1 mirror E-LTRP.3.1 above. However, under E-ECP.3.2 only a partner’s employment income, including specified employment or self-employment overseas, is listed as a permitted source of income, not the applicant’s. For example, a couple applying from the US to enter the UK can only rely on the British citizen partner’s (the sponsor’s) salary to meet the requirement.

Following a series of significant measures unveiled on 4 December 2023 with the aim of curbing legal migration numbers to the UK by around 300,000, the government announced an increase to the minimum income threshold for family visas. The increase to £29,000 took effect from 11 April 2024. Incremental increases are planned at an unspecified time, likely in late 2024, to £34,500, and finally to £38,700 in early 2025. Please refer to our blogpost on Navigating the New £29,000 UK Partner & Family Visa Financial Requirement.

Home Office Evidential Requirements When Relying on Employment Income

Under paragraph A1 of Appendix FM-SE, to meet the financial requirements of Appendix FM, an applicant must meet the minimum income threshold relevant to their date of application. They must also ensure the income is from a permitted source (or combination of sources), covers the appropriate time period, and provide the specified evidence that the rules require. 

The specified evidence requirements when relying on employment income are set out in paragraph 2 of Appendix FM-SE. This rule explains how the three crucial pieces of evidence – payslips, a letter from an employer, and bank statements showing the income – must be formatted and the information it must demonstrate to be accepted by the Home Office. 

It is worth noting that different rules will apply when income being relied on is from a specified limited company.  Under paragraph 9 of Appendix FM-SE, where: 

  • The person whose income is relied on is an employee or director of a company, or another company within the same group;
  • They hold shares (directly or indirectly), or their partner or certain family members do; and
  • The rest of the shares are held (directly or indirectly) by five or fewer people;

The Home Office Guidance on the Appendix FM Financial Requirement (Version 9.0) states that this type of employment income cannot be counted towards Category A or B. Instead, income from a specified limited company can only be counted under Categories F or G. This is because individuals working in small and/or family-run businesses will often rely on this route, so the Home Office will want to make sure the business is genuine. As a consequence, there are more onerous specified evidence requirements compared to Category A or B applications. This route and the specified evidence requirements are explained in detail in our articles on Self-Employment and the Partner Visa Financial Requirement, Spouse Visa Financial Requirement: Company Director and How to Satisfy the Partner Visa Financial Requirement as a Company Director.

Accordingly, except where paragraph 9 applies, evidence of employment must meet the following requirements:

Time period

Under paragraph 2(2), an applicant’s employment evidence must cover either:

(i) A period of 6 months prior to the date the application is submitted (if they have been employed by their current employer for at least 6 months); or

(ii) Any period of salaried employment in the period of 12 months prior to the date of application if the person has been employed by their current employer for less than 6 months.

Salaried employment means employment paid at a minimum fixed rate (usually annual) and is subject usually to a contractual minimum number of hours to be worked.

Where the current employment has not been held for six months, or when high earners can meet the minimum income threshold in less time, this will fall under Category B as explained in Part 2 of this article.

It is worth noting that the lowest annual gross income the applicant has received in the 6 months prior to the application must be higher than the minimum income threshold. So, for example, if an applicant has held a position for the last six months on a gross annual income of £30,000 and their salary was increased to £32,000 two months ago, the income level relied on for the purposes of the application will be £30,000. 

Payslips

For a Category A application, it is important that the payslips cover the 6-month period prior to the application. This means that if an application is made on 1 January 2024 and the applicant receives their payslips on the 15th of every month, they should also provide the payslip from 15 June to 15 July 2023 to cover the period relied on. Our immigration barristers can assist you with ensuring that the relevant time period is covered. If it is less than 6 months, please refer to Part 2 of this blogpost on Category B applications, where the employment income relied on is from less than 6 months of employment. 

Paragraph 1(bb) of Appendix FM-SE states that the payslips must be formal payslips. These can be requested directly from an employer, or often employees can access them themselves on online portals. Importantly, the payslips should clearly state:

  • The employer’s name
  • The applicant’s name
  • All relevant income and deductions in 6-month period prior to the application

If you do not have access to formal payslips, a letter from your employer must be included on their headed paper and signed by a senior official, to confirm that the payslips are authentic. This confirmation can be incorporated into the letter from the employer outlined below – which is also part of the specified evidence – but if it is, this must be signed by a senior official. 

Letter from the employer

Under paragraph 2(b), a letter from an employer must confirm:

  • The job position of the individual whose salary is being relied on;
  • Their gross annual salary;
  • How long they have been employed with the employer;
  • How long they have been paid their current level of salary (i.e. the level being relied on in the application);
  • What type of employment it is (permanent, fixed-term or agency contract).

If there has been a salary increase in the six months prior to the application, the period the employer must specify to satisfy point (iii) is the period over which the applicant was paid the previous salary. So, using the example above, the employer would have to specify how long the applicant had been receiving a gross annual salary of £30,000, and detail when the subsequent increase to £32,000 was effective from.

Our immigration barristers can provide guidance and assistance to ensure that applicants request a letter from their employers that meets the evidential requirements.

Bank Statements

Bank statements must be provided from the account which shows the income being relied on in the application. It is worth checking that the amounts entering the bank account correspond to the amounts listed in each payslip, to ensure consistency.

Paragraph 1(a) of Appendix FM-SE states that bank statements must:

  • Be appropriately regulated according to the rules under Appendix Finance;
  • Clearly be in the name of the applicant or sponsor (depending on whose income is being relied on in the application), or a joint account;
  • Cover the relevant period (namely 6 months of monthly salary payments for Category A applications, or the period of employment for Category B applications);
  • Be in the appropriate format, either on:
    • Official bank stationery (printed by the bank in branch); or
    • Electronic statements, either accompanied by a letter from the bank on its headed stationery confirming the bank statements are authentic, or stamped with the bank’s official stamp on each page.

FIN 2.1. Appendix Finance will apply to a financial institution for which a decision maker is able to make satisfactory verification checks, is regulated by an appropriate regulatory body and uses electronic record keeping systems. Importantly, some electronic banks are not regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority in the UK so may not meet the requirements. The Home Office’s Guidance – Financial Requirement (Version 7.0) elaborates on the requirements that an individual’s funds must meet to allow them to be considered.

The account may be held in either the applicant’s or sponsor’s name, or jointly, but it must clearly show the monthly income being received and the correct amount.

The bank statements should cover the continuous six month period prior to the submission of the application. 

Applicants should therefore be mindful of the dates their monthly bank statements run from and to, in order to ensure that the income for the previous six months is clearly demonstrated. For example, if the income is received on the 15th of every month, and statements run from the first to the last day of every month, a temporary shortened statement may have to be requested to cover the entire period.

Contact Our Immigration Barristers 

For more information on the financial requirement under the Immigration Rules, or to discuss an application under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules then please contact our specialist immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or via the enquiry form below.

SEE HOW OUR IMMIGRATION BARRISTERS CAN HELP YOU

To arrange an initial consultation meeting, call our immigration barristers on 0203 617 9173 or fill out the form below.




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