As we all know, spouse or partner visa applications normally have a financial requirement. So if, for example, an applicant with no children wants to apply to join their partner in the UK (the “sponsor”), the sponsor must show gross earnings of at least £18,600 per year to support the application.
But supposing they can’t, supposing the earnings are less, but supposing that a relative of one of the parties is prepared to provide additional financial support? Let’s say for example the sponsor only earns £10,000 gross per year but a relative of one of the parties earns £30,000 per year and they say that they can make up the difference and that they can easily afford it. Would this situation satisfy the financial requirements?
Well, it’s a good question, and it is something that sometimes comes up. The way that the immigration rules stand at the moment is like this.
The relevant rule says that if there is “a credible guarantee of sustainable financial support to the applicant or their partner from a third party” and if there is sufficiently good evidence about it and it looks genuine and credible then this could be acceptable, and the applicant could be deemed to meet the rule.
The UKVI decision-maker is required to delve into the situation as to “whether the third party has provided sufficient evidence of their general financial situation to enable the decision-maker to assess the likelihood of the guaranteed financial support continuing for the period of limited leave applied for”.
It might be argued that this rule reasonably reflects the human rights family life principles which underpin the family immigration rules.
However, it has recently come under scrutiny in a case before the Court of Appeal called “SB”. The rule about the “general financial situation” of the proposed benefactor has been criticised for being too vague. Does the law require a “ringfenced” amount of funds of at least the same as the amount of the financial shortfall, or should the requirement be measured more flexibly? To use the example we presented above, does the benefactor need to show an available ringfenced amount of earnings of at least £8,600?
This case and this issue is still going through the court system at the moment, and we await the outcome with interest.
But in the meantime, if you have any issues or queries about third-party support for family visa applications we at GSN Immigration will be able to advise you.
Level 3 Immigration Consultant