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05 May 2020

Self-employed with a UK work visa during COVID-19 lockdown

A short note outlining the considerations for UK visa holders when deciding whether to apply for a grant from HM Revenue & Customs as a self-employed worker in the UK.

The scheme opens online on 13 May 2020. It is state aid and allows you to claim a taxable grant of up to £7,500 or 80% of your average monthly trading profits for a 3-month period, whichever is the lower amount.

Grants under the Self-Employment Income Support Scheme are not counted as ‘access to public funds’. You can claim the grant on all categories of UK work visa. This is confirmed by the UK Government here.

Key eligibility requirements

You can use an online tool to check eligibility here. The main requirements are:

1. You personally apply for a grant. An advisor cannot apply on your behalf

2. You are self-employed or a member of a partnership in the UK

3. Your trade has been adversely affected by the COVID-19 pandemic because, for example:

  • You cannot work because you are self-isolating or shielding, on sick leave because of the virus, have caring responsibilities because of the virus.
  • You have scaled down or temporarily stopped trading because your supply chain has been interrupted, you have fewer or no customers or your staff are unable to come to work.

4. You traded in tax year 2018-19, 2019-20 and intend to continue to trade into 2021

5. You submitted your Self-Assessment tax return before 23 April 2020 for 2018-19. If you did not submit your tax return before this date, you cannot apply

6. You cannot claim if you operate through a trust or you are above the state aid limit.

If you are unsure if this applies to you, please contact us to advise further.

If you decide to make a claim, you will need the following information to hand:

  • Your Self-Assessment Unique Tax Reference (UTR)
  • Your National Insurance number (NI)
  • Your Government Gateway user ID and password. If you do not have this, you can create one or re-set it online
  • Your bank account number and sort code

Possible adverse effects of applying

If you dishonestly claim for support or you provide inaccurate information, HM Revenue & Customs will take steps to recover the grant. This includes making a claim when the self-employed person has not been adversely affected by COVID-19 in the ways outlined above.

HM Revenue and Customs may also share information with UK Visas and Immigration. If you are found to have misled HM Revenue & Customs or provided inaccurate information, this could adversely affect any future UK immigration or British Citizenship application you make. We are aware that UK Visas and Immigration have previously refused applications for indefinite leave to remain and British Citizenship where information provided in visa applications did not match information given to HM Revenue & Customs. We could expect them to take a similar approach to those found to have made a dishonest or misleading claim.


The Immigration Team at Charles Russell Speechlys are keeping abreast of the latest developments and how these will affect our clients. For further guidance and support, please contact a member of the Immigration Team.

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