Rishi Sunak has come under fire recently, with scrutiny focused on both his and his family’s financial affairs. The Chancellor’s wife, Akshata Murty, had faced questions about whether it was appropriate for her to retain so-called “non-dom” (non-domicile) status, meaning she did not pay taxes to the British Government on the money she earned abroad.
The i reports that Mr Sunak, MP for Richmond in Yorkshire, is believed to be the richest MP sitting in Parliament and owns a £2million-listed Yorkshire mansion. As Chancellor, he is responsible for setting tax policy.
In a series of tweets, Ms Murty revealed that her non-dom status would change. She said: “I understand and appreciate the British sense of fairness, and I do not wish my tax status to be a distraction for my husband or to affect my family. For this reason, I will no longer be claiming the remittance basis for tax.”
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The Guardian also reported Health Secretary Sajid Javid admitted to holding the status while working in international finance before entering Parliament. It was also recently revealed that Mr Sunak held an American green card until October of last year, returning it before his first American trip as a Government minister.
The Chancellor previously studied in the US at Stanford University, California, in the early 2000s. This means that he filed tax returns in the US, and Labour’s shadow treasury minister Pat McFadden has asked questions about whether there was any tax advantage in him holding the green card.
The BBC reported that the Chancellor’s spokeswoman said: “As required under US law and as advised, he continued to use his green card for travel purposes. Upon his first trip to the US in a Government capacity as Chancellor, he discussed the appropriate course of action with the US authorities. At that point it was considered best to return his green card, which he did immediately.”
Mr Sunak has since published a letter he sent to the Boris Johnson on Twitter, asking the Prime Minister to refer his ministerial declarations to the Independent Advisor on Ministers’ Interests. It has also been widely reported that an investigation is now underway into how the tax affairs of Mr Sunak’s wife were leaked to the media.
What is an American green card?
According to the US Gov site, an American green card (also known as a Permanent Resident Card) does the following:
- Gives you official immigration status in the US
- Entitles you to certain rights and responsibilities
- Is required if you want to naturalize as a US citizen
What are the requirements to get an American green card?
Getting an American green card is a complicated process. It is not always immediately evident as to who will qualify and why.
The US Government website lists eight categories under which individuals may qualify to apply for a green card, with various sub-categories within them. The complete list of categories through which you may be eligible to apply for a green card includes:
- Via family
- Via employment
- As a special immigrant
- Through refugee or asylee status
- As a human trafficking or crime victim
- As a victim of abuse
- Through registry
- Through other categories
Each of these categories lays down specific guidelines for who may apply within them. For example, you can apply via the family route if you are the spouse of a US citizen or the family member of a US citizen (among other qualifications).
You can seek a green card through the employment route if you are a first, second or third preference immigrant worker, a physician who agrees to work full-time in an underserved area, or an immigrant investor (who already has or is in the process of investing $1m in a new commercial enterprise creating at least 10 new full-time positions).
Full details are available on the US Government website.
What happens when you apply for a green card?
If you believe that you meet the criteria to apply for a green card, USA.gov states that you will have to file “form I-485 – Application to Register Permanent Residence or Adjust Status with USCIS (United States Citizenship and Immigration Services), including all supporting documents and fees”.
USCIS will then review the application and schedule an interview with you. If your green card is issued, it will be valid for 10 years.