Campaigns Keeping Families Together COVID-19 and Spouse/Partner visas I’m concerned about meeting the Minimum Income Requirement to renew my / my partner’s visa For now, people who are already in the country and are applying for a new spouse visa, or for Indefinite Leave to Remain, still have to meet the Minimum Income Requirement (MIR) as normal. Keeping this system in place in the midst of a pandemic like the one we're currently experiencing is irresponsible, and will cause huge amounts of unnecessary stress. It may also put people at risk, pushing applicants and their partners to keep working in order to meet the requirement rather than self-isolating. That's why we're asking the Government to suspend the MIR immediately for extension applications during the pandemic. Click here to write to your MP asking them to raise this issue with the Home Secretary as soon as possible. If you are personally affected by this, please do make this clear by personalising the message to your MP, explaining in as much detail as you can your situation and why the MIR must be urgently lifted. I’m concerned about me / my partner not being able to leave the UK when a temporary visa expires The Home Office has announced an extension scheme for people in the UK on temporary leave who are worried they will not be able to leave the UK when their visa runs out because of COVID-19. The extension scheme could also be relevant to you if, for example, you are in the UK on a fiance visa but will not now be able to get married due to the lockdown. Anyone who thinks this might apply to them or has questions about how to access the extension scheme is encouraged to call JCWI's helpline for free and confidential legal advice. The helpline number is 020 7553 7470. It is open on Mondays, Tuesdays and Thursdays between 10am and 1pm. I'm concerned about me / my partner accessing Statutory Sick Pay If you are self-isolating because of coronavirus, according to government advice, you can get Statutory Sick Pay (SSP) as long as you fall into certain eligible categories. SSP is available for people who are employed (including if you are employed on a zero-hours contract) and earned on average £118 or more per week, before tax. SSP is not classed as a public fund, so if you are here on a spouse visa and have No Recourse to Public Funds you can claim it. I’m concerned about myself / my partner being laid off, and this having an impact on our income People who are employed are eligible for support under the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This is a government scheme that helps employers pay 80% of the wages of employees who would otherwise have been laid off due to COVID-19. There is more information about how employers can access this support here. Money distributed under this scheme is not classed as a public fund, so people who are here on a spouse/partner visa can claim it. Support is now also being made available for self-employed people whose income has been affected by the pandemic. You can claim 80% of your average income from self-employment, as long as you submitted a tax return for the financial year 2018/19. The scheme is not open yet, but more information is available here. Money distributed under this scheme is not classed as a public fund, so people who are here on a spouse/partner visa can claim it. I’m concerned about NRPF restrictions meaning that I / my partner cannot claim enough benefits If you're in a couple where one partner has No Recourse to Public Funds as a condition of their visa, you won't usually be able to claim Universal Credit to cover both of you (there are certain exceptions for couples in which the partner with NRPF is a Turkish national). This risks causing huge financial hardship - couples in which one or both partners have lost income or work will need adequate financial support to get them through. That's why we're calling on the Government to lift NRPF restrictions during the pandemic. This would mean that, for example, couples where both partners are self-employed and one has No Recourse to Public Funds could claim enough financial support to cover both partners, without worrying about the impact this could have on future applications. I / my partner have been working to earn the MIR, and we are concerned about not meeting the threshold because of the impact of COVID-19 If you are already in the UK and are separated from your partner while you gather 6 months' worth of payslips to meet the MIR, please contact us at [email protected]. At this early stage, we are monitoring the situation for people who are in this position, and hope to be able to provide updates when the situation becomes clearer. I / my partner have just applied for a visa from outside the UK, but are worried about the impact of travel restrictions The Home Office has published some limited guidance for people who have already applied for, or are in the middle of applying for, a visa from outside the UK. It has details on where to go to check whether your local Visa Application Centre is open, or what to do if the Home Office currently has your passport. The guidance available so far, which was published on 24 March 2020, is available here. We are calling on the Home Office to issue more and clearer guidance for people whose applications are affected by the pandemic, and will update this page as new details emerge. I want advice on supporting people with precarious immigration status during the pandemic People in your community who have precarious immigration status may be particularly at risk during the pandemic. Many may fear accessing the healthcare they need, and may struggle to access information and daily necessities. You can find suggestions on how to support people with precarious immigration status, and links to further resources, here. We are aware that the current situation could impact in a wide range of ways on people who are applying for or have applied for spouse / partner visas. We will do our best to keep this page up-to-date as the situation changes. Please contact us on [email protected] if you have other concerns relating to your situation that you would like to discuss.