Personal Immigration

Meeting the financial requirement under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules

Since 9 July 2012, the Immigration Rules have required applicants seeking entry clearance or leave to remain in the UK as a partner (spouse, civil partner, fiancé(e) or unmarried partner) to provide evidence that that they meet a minimum financial threshold as part of their application.

Section E-ECP.3.1 (for entry clearance applications) and section E-LTRP.2.1 (for applications made in the UK) of Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules state that the applicant must provide specific evidence of a gross annual income of at least £18,600, plus an additional £3,800 for the first child and an additional £2,400 for each additional child.

The financial requirement can be met in a variety of different ways, including salaried employment (whether inside or outside the UK), income received through self-employment, cash savings, pension income or other non-employment income received from property rental, dividends or maintenance grants.

Applicants frequently rely upon salaried employment in order to satisfy the financial requirement. Income received through employment is separated into two categories; Category A and Category B.

Unless the applicant is in the UK with the right to work, only the partner’s salary may be counted towards meeting the financial requirement.

Category A applies to those who have worked with their current employer for more than six months. Category B applies to those who have worked with their current employer for less than six months and those with a variable income.

Category A applications

Salaried employment in the UK

The applicant’s partner must demonstrate that, as at the date of application, they have been working for the same employer for the last six months.  The applicant’s partner may then count their gross annual salary towards meeting the financial requirement.

It is not enough to show that the partner’s gross annual income meets the required threshold; the partner must show that throughout the six month period prior to the date of application, they received a salary which equals or exceeds the level relied upon in the application.

In the event that the gross annual income has fallen below the required level, it is possible to add to this any of the following:

  • The gross amount of specified non-employment income, e.g. property, shares etc., provided that the asset has been owned by the partner in the 12 months prior to the application and they continue to own the asset at the date of application;
  • Income received through a pension;
  • An amount based on cash savings above £16,000, held by the applicant’s partner for at least six months prior to the date of application.  At the entry clearance or further leave to remain stage, the amount above £16,000 must be divided by 2.5 to reflect the 2½ year or 30 month period before the applicant will need to make another application. The amount of cash savings therefore depends upon the shortfall in meeting the required level. For example, if the applicant’s partner receives a gross annual income of £15,00,0 the shortfall is £3,600 (i.e. £18,600 – £15,000). The applicant will therefore need to show savings of £25,000 (£3,600 x 2.5 + £16,000).  

Salaried employment outside the UK

If the applicant’s partner is in salaried employment outside the UK it is still possible to count their gross annual income towards meeting the financial requirement. However, two requirements must be satisfied:

Firstly, the applicant’s partner must have been employed with the same employer for at least six months prior to the date of application.  At the date of application, and throughout the last six months, the applicant’s partner should also have received a salary which equals or exceeds the level relied upon in the application.  If the salary is not paid in pounds sterling, then the UKBA will use the exchange rate which appears on www.oanda.com on the date the application was made.

As set out above, if the salary falls below the required level, it is possible to combine non-employment income, cash savings and pensions to meet the financial requirement.

Secondly, the applicant’s partner must have a confirmed offer of employment in the UK, starting within three months of their return. The starting salary must meet or exceed the required level in the application. Again, any shortfall may be supplemented by non-employment income, cash savings and pensions.

Category B applications

This category applies where the applicant’s partner (and/or the applicant if they are in the UK with the right to work) has worked for their current employer for a period of less than six months OR those who earn a variable income.

Salaried employment in the UK

Under category B the financial requirement must be evidenced in two parts.

First, the applicant’s partner will need to show that as at the date of application, they receive a gross annual income which meets or exceeds the financial requirement.  Again, any shortfall may be supplemented by specified non-employment income, cash savings or pensions, as described above.

Second, the applicant’s partner must, in addition, have received a salary which meets or exceeds the required level in the 12 months prior to the date of application. Income received from non-employment income and/or a pension may be added to meet the required level. However, cash savings cannot be relied upon to meet the second part of the test.

To provide an example, the applicant’s partner starts a new job four months before the date of application. The new job has a salary of £20,000. The applicant’s partner meets the financial requirement and therefore satisfies the first part of Category B.

The UKBA will then look at what the applicant’s partner has earned in the last 12 months. Before this new job, the applicant’s partner was employed for 12 months at a salary of £19,000. The applicant’s partner therefore satisfies the second part of Category B because the gross annual salary within the last 12 months exceeds the level required in the application. 

Salaried employment outside the UK

Where the applicant’s partner is returning to the UK with the applicant to work, the UKBA will assess the application in two parts:

Firstly, the applicant’s partner must have a confirmed offer of salaried employment to return to in the UK which will start within three months of their return. The offer of employment must have a gross annual starting salary of at least that relied upon in the application. Any shortfall may be supplemented by non-employment income, cash savings or pension.

Secondly, the applicant’s partner must have received in the 12 months prior to the date of application an income which meets or exceeds the required level based upon:

  • The gross amount of salaried employment earned overseas;
  • The gross amount of any specified non-employment income;
  • The gross amount of any state or private pension;

Appendix FM-SE of the Immigration Rules sets out detailed requirements as to what documents must be provided to demonstrate that the financial requirement for partners has been satisfied. Failure to provide a specified document, or a document in the wrong format, is likely to result in the refusal of the application. Applications must therefore be prepared carefully ensuring that the correct evidence is provided.

Our Immigration Barristers are able to advise on all aspects of the financial requirement of the Immigration Rules and the documentary evidence required for applications for spouse visas, unmarried partner visas, civil partner visas and fiancé visass. If you would like to discuss your case with one of our Barristers please call 0203 617 9173 or email  info@richmondchambers.com.

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