About to loose my eligibility???

edited 22 April 2015 at 10:08AM in Student Money Saving
14 replies 2.6K views
gk17gk17 Forumite
7 Posts
edited 22 April 2015 at 10:08AM in Student Money Saving
Hi everyone

First of all, a huge thank you to anyone who goes to the effort of reading all this.

I believe that I am beginning to stand on pretty thin ice with regards to my eligibility for student finance due to what I would deem as a temporary absence from England.

To make this as simple as possible I've put this all in bullet points under 3 stages. If anyone can please give me some advice on whether I’ve already blown my chances or still stand a small chance it would be really appreciated. (It gets a bit tricky as it involves a marriage abroad).

Stage 1

- Lived in England from birth to 26 years old (worked full time from 16 to 26)
- In Summer 2013 I went travelling and returned to England 10 months later.

I know I’m OK up until here

Stage 2

- 2 weeks later decided to travel again.
- 3 months into travelling I met someone in China and fell in love
- Decided to sign a temporary 10 month working contract in order to obtain a visa allowing me to stay in the country longer.
- Both of us planned to come back to England together at the end of this contract
- Returned to England for 3 weeks at the beginning of this year and enrolled on a Access to Higher Education Diploma course with the Distance Learning Center to allow me to apply to university the following year.
- Returned to China to complete the contract
- Got engaged and planned a wedding in China for this coming summer.


If your with me so far..... At this point I'm sure I can argue that all of this was a temporary absence. However, this is where is gets very tricky.....

Stage 3

- Realised that in order to bring a non EU national to UK I must be earning £18,600 and have 6 months of pay slips to prove this.
I can easily achieve this by going back to my previous job, however this now leaves me with 2 options:

1) I intermediately leave my wife after the wedding for at least 6 months until I have enough payslips to apply for her visa, then apply for student finance. (obviously this option is ridiculous).

Or 2) I sign another contract allowing me to stay in China for another year, and we save so that she can come to England to do a Masters degree on a student visa whilst I work full time (and change her visa after 6 months)
Then after a year of us being both in England, I would apply for student finance.


It’s such a shame because if we could both return this summer together I would have some relatively firm ground to argue on. The non-EU financial requirement is effectively preventing me from doing what I want which is to come back.

Can anyone share their thoughts on this?

Also, I was wandering if it would help if I actually sent Student Finance England my predicament now to see what they say. Do you think they would even comment on this thus making themselves liable to whatever they say without a proper investigation?

I'm so frustrated that someone can spend years working and paying taxes in England yet has to go through this just because of spending some time in another country.
«1

Replies

  • agrinnallagrinnall
    23.3K Posts
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    gk17 wrote: »

    1) I intermediately leave my wife after the wedding for at least 6 months until I have enough payslips to apply for her visa, then apply for student finance. (obviously this option is ridiculous).

    Why is this option 'obviously ridiculous'? It seems like you'd have a bit of short term pain in return for a long term settled future. Many people have had to part immediately after marriage for periods much longer than that, for various reasons.
  • gk17gk17 Forumite
    7 Posts
    Thanks for reading all that agrinnall

    I understand that people have had to do worse than that and Ironically, I do actually support the financial restriction on bringing non-EU members to the UK. However, to be pressured into that situation immediately after my wedding purely on the grounds of proving this period abroad is temporary, is in my eyes ridiculous and also a step that I'm not willing to take.

    If you do think that there is a high probability of my application being rejected I think I would rather take option 2 and just wait 3 years until I am eligible again.
  • gk17gk17 Forumite
    7 Posts
    also, please excuse the 'loose' typo, I've only just noticed that.
  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
    14.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    I'm not sure I understand the problem...

    In terms of eligibility for student finance, check the criteria carefully. If you have retained the option of a job in the UK; a family home; a bank account... you could make a strong case that your absence is temporary. You might like to read the information they publish and then make a post specifically about this: Taiko would know the answer (he does not like Private Messages but if your post makes the issue clear he is likely to see it and respond).

    In terms of the financial requirement to bring a spouse to the UK, remember that cash savings (perhaps on loan from family members) are an acceptable substitute for income. Remember also that after marriage you would have an absolute legal right to take your spouse to live and work with you in any EU country other than the UK, and after being employed/self-employed there for a few months (perhaps teaching English in Spain) you would then have a legal right to bring her/him to live and work in the UK: the famous Surringer Singh route.
  • gk17gk17 Forumite
    7 Posts
    Hi Voyager,

    The whole thing pretty much relates to whether or not SF will classify me as being temporarily away and still ordinary resident.

    The EU-Spouse issue is just a side issue to illustrate the predicament I'm in, we can easily manage it with time but then that will likely have a negative effect on my residence status.

    With regards to the Surringer Singh route, yeh I've researched this quite a bit but unfortunately I would immediately lose my ordinary residence status if I was to go down that route. Also, even EU members applying for finance have to be ordinary resident in the EU for 3 years.

    Yeh I was really hoping Taiko was till around on here to comment, there was post a while back about a guy who was also having problems with a temporary absence in China which he provided to some help on. It worked out OK for him in the end but my situation is a bit more extreme.
  • Voyager2002Voyager2002 Forumite
    14.5K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 10,000 Posts Name Dropper Combo Breaker
    ✭✭✭✭✭
    gk17 wrote: »
    Hi Voyager,

    The whole thing pretty much relates to whether or not SF will classify me as being temporarily away and still ordinary resident.

    Yeh I was really hoping Taiko was till around on here to comment, there was post a while back about a guy who was also having problems with a temporary absence in China which he provided to some help on. It worked out OK for him in the end but my situation is a bit more extreme.

    I suggest that you make another thread, asking a question that is more tightly focused on how to maintain your status of being ordinarily resident during a temporary absence in China. Make it easy for people to understand that issue and suggest the kind of things that SFE would use as tests to determine whether or not you were ordinarily resident...

    I don't think that Taiko would mind a brief PM asking him to look at a forum post.
  • TaikoTaiko Forumite
    2.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    I'm about, I've just been under a combination of illness/financial year end so unable to really look at things.

    If you can give me the bank holiday weekend, I'll respond in more detail.
  • gk17gk17 Forumite
    7 Posts
    Thanks Taiko, it would be great to hear from you, I've read that you're the expert on residency situations.

    Also, thanks Voyager for your comments too :)
  • TaikoTaiko Forumite
    2.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    Ok, having a look at everything you have posted, it is all going to depend on how that work contract is set out.

    I also need to know a bit about your intentions when you first moved to China.

    How long were you planning to stay there originally?
    Were you planning to stay in one city, or move around the country?

    If you could PM me a copy of your employment contract (don't worry if it is in Mandarin), I'll need to check some things in there.

    I should probably make you aware though that I may need to ask you more questions depending in your answers to the above and the contents of the contract. Residency situations are never straightforward, so there can be a bit of back and forth.
  • TaikoTaiko Forumite
    2.6K Posts
    Part of the Furniture 1,000 Posts
    ✭✭✭✭
    Replied to PM. I am satisfied that the OP's employment was of a temporary nature, that he maintained the right of return to the UK at any point, and that his intention of travelling abroad was purely that, and not to seek permanent employment. This could then be treated as more of a gap year, which is discounted when assessing within The Education (Student Support) Regulations 2011.
This discussion has been closed.
Latest MSE News and Guides

Energy price cap could be extended beyond 2023

New plans have just been announced by the Government

MSE News

Cheap contents insurance for tenants

DON'T assume your landlord covers you

MSE Guides

Summer sizzlers round-up

Incl £2ish sun cream & £1.50 disposable BBQs

MSE Deals