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Aspects of Immigration Law for Accountancy Professionals

This article addresses how accountants assist applicants by providing the correct documentation under the Immigration Rules and specifically in spousal visa applications.

The requirements for accountants in immigration applications is often where the applicant is self-employed. This can be in spouse visa applications under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules or Tier 1 (Entrepreneur) extension applications as examples.

Spouse applications and Financial Requirements

The financial requirement for a spouse under Appendix FM of the Immigration Rules is £18,600 for a spouse only and is higher if there are non-British children of the relationship. In order to meet this financial requirement through self-employed income, the profit rather than turnover, must be greater that £18,600.

In a spouse visa application, if the party on whose income is relied on to meet the financial requirement is self-employed, then accounts will often need to be provided. This is not necessarily the Applicant, it is often, particularly in entry clearance applications where the applicant is not in the UK, the spouse of the Applicant. For ease of reference this article assumes the Applicant is the self-employed person.

In some instances, the accounts required for the self-employed person are audited accounts, in most instances, accounts will be unaudited accounts. Accounts should relate to the last full financial year of the company. This will often mean that accounts will need to be prepared prior to the HMRC deadline as the Home Office wish to see the accounts for the last complete financial year, regardless of when the deadline to file with HMRC is.

Immigration Lawyers – request for certificate of confirmation Unaudited accounts also require an accountant’s certificate of confirmation which is a statement from the accountant confirming the accounts are correct.

The accountant providing the certificate of confirmation must be an accountant who is a member of a UK recognised Supervisory Body or a member of the Institute of Financial accountants. This is clearly an additional requirement over and above the requirements of HMRC.
In addition to these documents a SA300 must be provided, as well as business and personal bank statements for the last full financial year, evidence of tax paid in the last financial year, a copy of the tax return sent to HMRC and evidence of filing, proof of registration with HMRC and UTR and evidence of ongoing self-employment dated recently.

Accountants are also required if an Applicant is the director of a company and is relying on employment or dividends from that company. If the Applicant is relying on dividends, they must provide dividend vouchers. If the Applicant is relying on employment pay then they must provide payslips. In both instances the company bank accounts and personal bank accounts must be provided to show the transfer of funds into the Applicant’s account. This would be for the last full financial year with updated documents to show ongoing income through this revenue source.
In addition to these documents, a director of a limited company must also show the CT600 for the last financial year and evidence of filing of it, evidence of registration of the Company at Companies House, audited or unaudited accounts, business bank statements for the last full financial year, current appointment report and either a VAT certificate, proof of ownership or lease of business premises or proof of registration with HMRC as an employer.

If the Applicant does not meet the financial requirement using just the most recent financial year, it may be possible to take into account the last two financial years. The Applicant should speak with an immigration lawyer if they think using the last two financial years may be of benefit to them.

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