Covid-19 and impact of meeting the Financial Requirements under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules

Manjit Dogra


One of the effects of Covid-19 for many is the loss of a regular income and/or a change in their pattern of working. For those seeking to make an application to come into or remain in the UK under certain provisions of Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules (Appendix FM), will such changes have a direct impact in their ability to satisfy the minimum income threshold?


Under Appendix FM, one of the conditions an applicant must satisfy when making an application for entry clearance and/or limited leave to remain under the “Partner Route” or for entry clearance and/or leave to remain under the “Child Route”, is that they meet the Financial Requirements, otherwise known as the minimum income threshold.


The Home Office’s Immigration Directorate Instruction Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.7 Appendix Armed Forces-Financial Requirement (August 2017) [IDI] states that there are 6 ways in which the minimum income requirement can be met:


  • Income from the salaried employment of the partner and/or the applicant, where the applicant has permission to work in the UK.

  • Income from the non-salaried employment of the partner and/or the applicant, where the applicant has permission to work in the UK.

  • The non-employment income of the partner and/or the applicant.

  • Cash savings of the partner and/or the applicant over £16,000, where it has been held by the partner and/or the applicant for at least 6 months up to the date of the application.

  • Income from self-employment and income as a director or an employee of a specified limited company in the UK.

  • State (UK or foreign), occupational or a private pension of the partner and/or the applicant.


The Home Office in its IDI defines salaried and non-salaried employment in the following way:

Non-salaried employment includes that paid at an hourly or otherate (and the number and/or pattern of hours required to be worked may vary) or paid an amount which varies according to the work undertaken. Salaried employment includes that paid at a minimum fixed rate (usually annual) which is usually subject to a contractual minimum number of hours worked. [1]


Whether an individual is in salaried employment or non-salaried employment is perhaps fairly easy to determine what may be slightly more complex is the calculations used to determine whether the minimum income threshold is met, the calculation used depends upon the following:


(i) Has the individual(s) whose income is being relied upon, been in employment with the same employer for 6 months prior to the date of the application and paid throughout that 6-month period?


(ii) Has the individual(s) whose income is being relied upon, been in employment with the same employer for a period of less that 6 months at the date of the application?


(iii) Does the individual(s), whose income is being relied upon, have a variable income, worked for the same employer for at least 6 months, but does not wish their income to be assessed using the same calculation that would be applied to (i) above? [2]


For those who have been employed with the same employer for at least 6 months, the difference between salaried and non-salaried employment is the way in which the relevant income is calculated: for salaried employment the relevant income is the lowest level of annual salary received in the 6 month period relied upon[3]; for those in non-salaried employment the calculation to be used is the “total gross income from employment held throughout the 6 month period, divided by 6 and multiplied by 12.[4]


For those in salaried employment but who have worked for their employer for less than 6 months the relevant income is the gross annual salary as at the date of the application.[5]


For those in non-salaried employment with an employer for less than 6 months or more than 6 months but have had a variable income, the relevant income is assessed in the following way:


Total gross income from non-salaried employment in the period prior to the application for which that employment has been held) divided by the number of months and multiplied by 12 (or by the number of weeks and multiplied by 52 where payment is weekly, or by the number of days and multiplied by 365 where payment is daily [6]


In addition to the above, the individual(s), whose income is being relied upon, must also show that in the 12 months prior to the date of the application, they have received income that would have satisfied the minimum income threshold.


So how may a loss of income during the Covid-19 pandemic effect an applicant’s ability to meet the minimum threshold requirement?


One of the major planks in the Government’s financial package was the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, under the scheme if certain employer furloughed their staff, employers “could apply for a Government grant that would cover 80% of their usual monthly wage costs, up to £2,500 per month.”[7]


If the individual whose income is being relied upon is furloughed, it does appear that there is no break in the period employment and the individual can continue to rely upon the income received during the furlough period in supporting an application under Appendix FM. However, what should be borne in mind is that there appears to be no obligation upon employers to meet the remaining 20% of and this may have an impact on the calculation done in order to determine whether an applicant satisfies the minimum threshold requirement. There may therefore be a risk that the income received during the period of furlough reduces the amount that can be relied upon to meet the minimum income threshold.


If an individual’s income is reduced they may be able to apply for Universal Credit[8]; unfortunately, any payments from universal credit currently cannot be taken into account when considering whether an applicant meets the minimum income threshold.[9]


For an individual who cannot be furloughed, what options remain for them?


Firstly, an individual could theoretically apply for another job. In reality, given the current economic climate and lockdown, this may not be possible. Secondly, the Government states that if “you are on a low income and affected by the economic impacts of COVID-19, you will be able to access the full range of the welfare system, including universal credit.”[10]


Unfortunately, not only is Universal Credit currently exempted from counting towards the minimum threshold requirement, so too are a range of other income supported benefits.[11] Accordingly, even if you were eligible for benefits, if the benefit received was one that is currently exempted from consideration, this would not assist in supporting an application under Appendix FM.


However, where an individual has been in salaried or non-salaried employment, in addition to their salary, they can also rely upon the following to meet the minimum income threshold:


  • The gross amount of any specified non-employment income of the applicant and/or their partner in the 12 months up to the date of the application, provided that they still own the asset upon which an income is generated.

  • An amount of cash savings, over £16,000 held by the applicant and/or the partner for at least 6 months prior to the date of application and remains under their control.

  • The gross annual income received by the applicant and/or their partner from a State pension (UK or overseas), occupational or private.[12]


Paragraph 10 of Appendix FM-SE of the Immigration Rules (Appendix FM-SE) details the types non-employment income that may be taken into account; within the context of looking at the effects of COVID-19 on meeting the minimum income threshold, two types immediately become worthy of consideration, income from rental property and dividends.[13] Dividends shall be considered in a later post.


As it is the annual gross amount of rental income for a period of 12 months up to the date of the application, any loss in income during this period may affect an applicant’s ability to show that they meet the minimum threshold requirement. Whilst a “renters holiday” has not been afforded to renters, the Government has imposed limitations upon when a landlord may commence eviction proceedings[14] including when a tenant has not paid their rent, accordingly there may be a break in rental income.


However, the Government encourages tenants to raise with their landlord if they are unable to pay their rent and for a landlord and tenant to agree a possible way forward, including a reduced amount for rent for a period of time[15]; measures have also been put in place which may potentially help a tenant in meeting rental costs[16]. It may therefore be that it is possible to obtain some income from rental property, which may assist in meeting the minimum income threshold.

Ultimately, as with all cases, each case will have to be considered on its own facts.


Manjit is a Junior tenant at Chambers specializing in immigration, crime and family.


[1] Para 5.1.3 - Immigration Directorate Instruction Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.7 Appendix Armed Forces-Financial Requirement (August 2017) [2] Para 5.1.4 and 5.3.1 Immigration Directorate Instruction Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.7 Appendix Armed Forces-Financial Requirement (August 2017) [3] Para 5.1.4 - Immigration Directorate Instruction Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.7 Appendix Armed Forces-Financial Requirement (August 2017) [4] Para 5.1.4 - Immigration Directorate Instruction Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.7 Appendix Armed Forces-Financial Requirement (August 2017) [5] Para 5.3.4 - Immigration Directorate Instruction Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.7 Appendix Armed Forces-Financial Requirement (August 2017) [6] Para 5.3.7 - Immigration Directorate Instruction Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.7 Appendix Armed Forces-Financial Requirement (August 2017) [7] Claim for your employees’ wages through the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme- https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme [8] COVID-19: guidance for employees- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees [9] Para 4.2.1- Immigration Directorate Instruction Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.7 Appendix Armed Forces-Financial Requirement (August 2017) [10] COVID-19: guidance for employees- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees [11] Para 4.2.1- Immigration Directorate Instruction Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.7 Appendix Armed Forces-Financial Requirement (August 2017) [12] Para 5.1.5- Para 5.3.8 - Immigration Directorate Instruction Family Migration: Appendix FM Section 1.7 Appendix Armed Forces-Financial Requirement (August 2017) [13] Paragraph 10(a) and 10(b) of Appendix FM-SE of the Immigration Rules. [14] Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: Coronavirus Act 2020 and renting, Annex A-technical guidance for landlords on the provisions of the Coronavirus Act 2020- https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/877744/Technical_Guidance_COVID_19_PRS_v4.pdf [15] Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance for Landlords and Tenants-https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876500/Consolidated_Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance_COVID_and_the_PRS_v4.2.pdf. [16] Ministry of Housing, Communities & Local Government: Coronavirus (Covid-19) guidance for Landlords and Tenants- https://assets.publishing.service.gov.uk/government/uploads/system/uploads/attachment_data/file/876500/Consolidated_Landlord_and_Tenant_Guidance_COVID_and_the_PRS_v4.2.pdf and Covid-19: Guidance for employees- https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/guidance-to-employers-and-businesses-about-covid-19/covid-19-guidance-for-employees#claiming-benefits.