Thank you to everyone who has contacted me about the minimum income requirement for those with spouse and partner visas.
Some of you have asked me to add my name to EDM 880 on this subject. Unfortunately as a shadow minister I am unable to sign EDMs, but I am very happy to set out my thoughts below.
I know this is a very worrying time for everyone whose income is threatened by the coronavirus pandemic, particularly those who are required to meet the minimum income requirement for immigration purposes. I agree that people in this position should not be disadvantaged due to circumstances out of their control.
The Government has outlined several temporary measures to support those who are subject to the minimum income requirement.
Firstly, if you have experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus, the Government will consider employment income for the period immediately before the loss of income due to coronavirus, provided the requirement was met for at least six months up to March 2020.
Secondly, if your salary has reduced because you are or have been furloughed, the Government will take account of your income as though you are earning 100% of your salary.
Finally, if you are self-employed, a loss of annual income due to coronavirus between 1 March 2020 and 31 August 2020 will generally be disregarded, along with the impact on employment income from the same period for future applications.
The Government has said that the minimum income requirement can also be met in several ways in addition to, or instead of, income from employment or self-employment. For example, income from a couple’s investments, property rental or pension may also be taken into account, together with any cash savings.
One way I think the Government could go further would be to suspend the ‘No Recourse to Public Funds’ (NRPF) rule for the duration of the pandemic. In June, I voted for an amendment to the Government’s Immigration Bill that would have done this. Unfortunately, Government MPs voted against it and it was defeated.
I can assure you that my Labour colleagues and I will continue to support efforts to ensure that nobody with a spouse or partner visa is disadvantaged because of the coronavirus crisis.