Michael’s Story

This is a post taken from a comment left on Chez’s story and highlights some of the nonsense sponsors are forced through, not to mention the apparent confusion around these new rules. More information about use of savings in meeting the income threshold can be found in the UKBA’s statement of intent.


I, too, am a UK citizen (born here) who returned to the UK from 10 years in Australia in June to work. My son is also a UK citizen but my partner has Australian and US citizenship. I have a full-time permanent job with a salary well in excess of the financial requirement, plus sterling in bank accounts here and even more to be transferred from the sale of our house and cashing-in superannuation in Australia – hundreds of thousands of pounds, all up.

But my wife was told that she could not apply to enter the UK, except as a temporary visitor, until I had been in employment for six months. Given that it takes another two months to issue a visa, that means eight months living in Australia alone and where we have sold up, or coming here temporarily and returning to Australia for two months. This is a direct consequence of the July changes.

The situation is, frankly, bonkers. We have been married for nearly 40 years . My partner lived and worked in the UK between 1973 and 2002. I lived here from birth to 2002 (I am 64) and worked from 1965 to 2002. We both graduated from English universities. We paid tax, have National Insurance numbers, and neither of us has any history of claiming benefits, except for one six-week period in the 1980s when I was unemployed and received less than £200. Even more bizarre is how the six-month rule would work if we had private means and did not want to work, which could be the case as my pensions have kicked in if I wish to access them.

As with Chez, our situation is totally irrelevant to the government’s supposed rationale for bringing in these changes. Indeed, quite the opposite. I was deliberately recruited internationally for my ‘expertise’ (such as it is).

I know that those most affected negatively by these new crazy rules will be those who are worse off financially and in other ways – but perhaps it will do something to change the government’s mind when it realises that ‘nice’ middle-class people are being trapped by them, too, and the damage this will do to the international movement of labour. I work in higher education which is a global activity highly dependent on international recruitment.


Edit: The ‘6 month’ advice mentioned above appears to have been given incorrectly with respect to the savings Michael has, which should be sufficient to sponsor a spouse under the new rules. This testifies at least to the sponsors now have in establishing whether they are eligible to live in the UK with their spouses and inadequacy of consular services in explaining the changes to British citizens overseas.

Edit: the 6 month advice actually derives from the application form! See 5th comment below


6 Comments on “Michael’s Story”

  1. steve says:

    Hi, I’m curious to know more about this one. The Statement of Intent on the rule changes (linked from http://www.freemovement.org.uk/2012/06/13/new-statement-of-intent-on-family-migration/ , http://www.ukba.homeoffice.gov.uk/sitecontent/documents/news/soi-fam-mig.pdf ) gives the following example – in paragraph 170 (I will paraphrase for brevity) :- ‘In respect of the use of cash savings to meet any shortfall against the income threshold under the financial requirement:’

    ‘The amount of cash savings above £16,000 can be counted against any shortfall against the £18,600 income threshold (or the relevant higher figure where a child or children are also being sponsored).’
    ‘For example, where the sponsor and applicant have no income which may be counted towards the financial requirement, £62,500 in cash savings will be required for the financial requirement to be met at the entry clearance/leave to remain stage or at the further leave stage, i.e. the ‘floor’ amount of £16,000, plus 2.5 times the shortfall of £18,600. At the indefinite leave to remain stage, the same couple will require £34,600 in cash savings to meet the financial requirement by that means alone, i.e. the ‘floor’ amount of £16,000, plus the shortfall of £18,600.’

    If Michael has hundreds of thousands of pounds in savings, why can he not use these to meet the financial requirement? Is it because they are not held in a UK bank account or is there another reason?

  2. Well it seems to be a requirement to work in the UK for 6 months, but as you point out the savings element should take care of it…

  3. steve says:

    Right, I’m wondering the exact reason why they can’t be counted (e.g. is it because they are in a non-UK account)? Or could it be a mistake by UKBA? Genuinely curious!

  4. Hi, thanks for commenting.
    I’ve followed up about this and will update as soon as I find out more.

  5. Michael Bromley says:

    The 6-month employment requirement is at 3.12 of the spouse’s visa application form: ‘has your sponsor been in employment with the same employer and earning the same amount as detailed in 3.11 above, continuously for 6 months prior to the date of the application?’

    An alternative is at 3.12: ‘has your sponsor had other salaried employment, in the UK, in the 12 months prior to the date of application?’

    Part 3B allows for ‘sponsor’s income from salaried employment outside the UK’, but the section is to be completed only if the sponsor is not permanently resident in the UK and will be returning to the UK to work’.

    In other words, there appears to be no allowance outside the 6-month rule for people transferring seamlessly from salaried employment outside the UK to salaried employment inside the UK when they are UK citizens with the right to abode, irrespective of level of income or savings.

    My wife is submitting my income for 2011-2012 in Australia, plus income I earned in 2011 in the US. The total exceeds by some factors the threshold, as does my current UK income. She is also submitting evidence of savings, assets, etc., etc..

    It will be interesting to see how it pans out. We are baby boomers who have been in employment almost continuously for more than 40 years and will be bringing a substantial amount of money into the UK, most of which we intend to invest in a home. Therefore, it would seem that the intent of the regulations will not apply. If the 6-month rule is adhered to, as I suggested above, it will put a severe damper on international recruitment. Who would take a job in the UK on these terms, and who will consider taking a job outside the UK knowing they will face this restriction if they decide to return. I might even take my money and leave myself.

  6. steve says:

    Thanks Michael, I’m very curious to see how this pans out myself and wish you all the best. According to the Statement of Intent I believe that your substantial savings alone should mean that you qualify, and I think you should draw the attention of the officials you are dealing with to this. The economic requirement isn’t salary alone, but can include savings and it sounds like you meet this.

    You should be able to use these on the basis that your income may be ‘income that can’t be counted’. Based on your statement above, there seems to be a bit of a grey area and I think it has implications for other cases as well.

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