Application based on self-employment abroad

  • Hello,

    I'm looking for some advice, as my circumstances regarding the financial requirement confuse the hell out of me. :)

    I'm currently living in Jamaica with my Jamaican partner, and we plan to apply for a UK spouse visa for him in a year or two and move to the UK. I will meet the financial requirement with income from self-employment.

    I'm a freelance translator and work location-independently. At the moment, I am still registered as a sole trader with HMRC and have an unbroken UK tax record of four years that would allow me to meet the financial requirement easily.

    I no longer spend enough time in the UK to qualify as a resident for tax purposes as per the Statutory Residency Test. Up until very recently, I wasn't a tax resident of Jamaica, either, as my work permit took ages to process. Staying registered in the UK was pretty much my only option. Now, I have my Jamaican work permit and could technically move all my taxable income to JA.

    I am wondering: To make the spouse visa application easier and apply on the basis of self-employment in the UK (Category F), can I stay voluntarily registered with HMRC and keep paying the taxes on my non-Jamaican (mostly EU) income in the UK? Or would the Home Office contest this because I am not technically resident in the UK? (I hear that the burden of proof for becoming non-resident for tax purposes is quite high, so conversely, could it be relatively easy to remain a tax resident voluntarily?)

    Or should I move all my income to my limited company in Jamaica and apply under point 9.5.2:

    *"Where the applicant’s partner is in self-employment overseas and is returning with the applicant to the UK to work, they may rely on continuing their self-employment in the UK or on a confirmed offer of employment in the UK in order to meet the financial requirement.

    Therefore, if their self-employment income overseas is sufficient to meet the financial requirement, they can also provide evidence either:
    That their self-employment is ongoing and will be continuing in the UK [...]"*

    If I am the director of a limited company abroad and then intend to continue my self-employment in the UK as a sole trader, does my application still fall under 9.5.2?

    I'll be extremely grateful for any advice, as the decision will make a considerable difference to the amount of tax I have to pay over the next two years.

    Thanks in advance!

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