I've previously blogged about the requirement and in 2014 I delivered training to other solicitors on how the requirement operated in practice. In practical terms the requirement is not always as straightforward as showing that the minimum salary requirement is met. The Home Office has particular rules for the way a person's salary is calculated and it is important to understand these as otherwise problems can occur.
We have recently dealt with a number of complex cases where, on the face of it, the individual did not meet the financial requirement but we were able to assist them nonetheless. Every case is different but the following case studies highlight some of the issues which can occur.
Case Study A
In this case we were contacted by an individual who was the director of two companies. He received a salary from both of these companies as well as dividends as a shareholder. His combined salary from the companies was in excess of £20,000 per year.
Unfortunately, when someone is a director of their own company, the Home Office does not consider their salary in the same way they would consider a salary paid to an employee. Unfortunately, they treat the individual as self employed and they have to provide additional evidence for the last full tax year.
The individual's companies had different tax years and, since it is not possible to combine income from different tax years, he fell short of the £18,600 requirement in the period that would be considered by the Home Office. This meant he would need to wait several months before he could apply for his wife's visa.
We were able to identify possible dividend payments that could still be counted and would take him over the required threshold so he could make an immediate application.
Case Study B
In this case our client was an employee of a company and earned more than £18,600. Shortly before his wife was due to submit her visa application he changed jobs. Normally, this would not be an issue as we could show he had earned £18,600 in the last 12 months and was being paid at least £18,600 in his new job. Unfortunately, our client's new salary was expressed as a day rate rather than an annual salary due to the nature of his contracting arrangements.
The Home Office draws a distinction between "salaried employment" where someone earns a regular wage and "non salaried employment" where someone's salary varies depending on the number of hours or days they work.
The way the Home Office calculates "non salaried employment" requires them to consider the average of the last 6 months earnings from this type of employment, and since our client had previously been in "salaried employment", his previous earnings from "non salaried employment" were 0. As a result he could not meet the visa requirement.
We were able to help our client calculate the exact point where his 6 month average would be sufficient to meet the financial requirement, and we then helped to gather the relevant evidence and explain the situation to the Home Office. The visa has now been granted.