The Home Office announced concessions to the Family or Private Life Immigration Route that will bring welcome news. Many of our clients on these immigration routes were worried about the effect of the Covid-19 on their immigration status. Fortunately, these concessions will bring some relief and good news.
Switching to Family or Private Life Immigration Route
If you are currently in the UK on a visitor visa, or with short term leave of up to six months that is due to expire prior to 31 July 2020, you can apply to switch into a family or private life immigration route.
Under normal circumstances, this would not be allowed, and a person would have to return to their home country and apply from their home country.
To qualify to switch under this temporary concession, you have to fulfil all the requirements under the family or private life immigration route.
This temporary concession will only be valid until 31 July 2020. It is only available to migrants who are in the UK holding a visa that is due to expire prior to that date. We therefore strongly recommend that clients who are in the UK on short term visa, and who are interested in switching to the family or private life immigration routes, contact us without delay.
Persons on family and private life routes with visas expiring outside the UK
If you are outside the UK, on a family or private life immigration route, and unable to travel back to the UK, due to the Covid-19 travel restrictions, we have some good news.
If your leave is expiring, the Home Office will overlook short breaks in your continuous residence. You will, however, be required to make your next application as soon as you can.
Fiancé, fiancées or proposed Civil partners
Persons who are in the UK with leave as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner, and whose wedding or civil ceremony has been delayed due to Covid-19, can request an extension until 31 July 2020.
You are welcome to contact a consultant at Breytenbachs to apply for this extension. It will also be possible to apply to extend your short term visa for another six months, to allow the ceremony to take place.
Minimum Income and Maintenance Requirements
The Home Office has also made some concessions for persons on the family or private life immigration route who are not able to meet the minimum income or maintenance requirement, due to Covid-19.
Where an applicant has suffered a loss of income due to the pandemic, the Home Office will consider employment income for the time immediately before the loss of income due to Covid-19. You will have to provide proof that you met the requirement for at least six months up to March 2020.
If you have a reduced income, due to being placed on furlough, the Home Office will consider your income as though you are earning 100% of your normal salary.
Self-employed persons who have a loss of annual income due to Covid-19 between 1 March 2020 and 31 July 2020 do not need to be concerned. The Home Office confirmed that they will generally disregard the impact on the employment income from the same period for future applications.
English Language Requirement
The Home Office confirmed that persons who cannot take an English language test as part of their visa application can apply for an exemption. You can apply for this exemption if the test centre was closed, or you could not travel to it due to the Covid-19 pandemic when you applied.
How Breytenbachs can help you
If you would like to apply for an extension of your current visa that is shortly due to expire, or if you want to take advantage of the concession to switch in-country, please contact us without delay. You are also welcome to let us know if you have any further questions or would like to discuss your situation with one of our consultants. Our team of experts will be happy to assist.