01-12-20 – New immigration routes launched in the UK from 01 December 2020

The Government has today (Tuesday 1 December) launched a number of immigration routes under the UK’s new points-based immigration system, including the flagship Skilled Worker route.  The launch of these new immigration routes will ensure that businesses can continue to attract the brightest and best people from around the world, to complement the skills and talent we already have in the UK. Free movement between the UK and the EU will end on 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, anyone coming to work or study in the UK from anywhere in the world, will need to apply through the points-based...

30-11-20 – Rishi Sunak faces state pension dilemma

Retired people are set to receive a 4.1% rise in the state pension in April 2022, an official forecast predicts. The state pension is going up by 2.5% in April 2021, but the bigger forecast rise in 2022 will come at a time when unemployment is expected to be high. Chancellor Rishi Sunak will face a balancing act between keeping to a manifesto promise while addressing claims of intergenerational unfairness. The UK state pension remains one of the less generous in Europe. Near the end of each year, the government sets the level of state pension to be paid from the following April. The increases...

27-11-20 – Alarming rise in asylum backlog despite fall in applications

The backlog of asylum cases has reached alarming new heights, with over 46,000 people now waiting more than six months for an initial decision on their asylum application. The figures as of 30 September 2020, which were released today, show a 19% increase from three months earlier and a 76% rise since September 2019.  The Home Office has used the backlog as a pretext to accommodate asylum seekers in converted military barracks in Wales and Kent. But the backlog is not an unforeseeable pandemic-induced crisis: it had been rising for several years, at a faster rate than the increase in asylum ap...

27-11-20 – Brexit: Trade negotiations between the UK and EU are still deadlocked

The Confederation of British Industry (CBI), British Chambers of Commerce and the Federation of Small Businesses told  that their members really need to know what arrangements to make for next year after the UK leaves the EU’s single market and customs union. A little progress has been made in the past several months with the negotiations between the UK and EU; however, the two largest barriers to a deal are future fisheries arrangements and the UK’s future state subsidy regime, which is a part of discussions over the so-called level playing field. The level playing field is a trade-policy ter...

25-11-20 – Key points from Rishi Sunak's Spending Review

The Chancellor Rishi Sunak delivered his Spending Review and latest economic forecasts to Parliament on 25 November 2020.  Rishi Sunak says the Spending Review comes as the coronavirus health emergency is not over and the economic emergency has only just begun, and it will be years before the country fully recovers. Saying he will prioritise jobs, businesses and public services, the chancellor says the government is spending £280bn to get the country through Covid-19. In his first Spending Review, the Chancellor told MPs the UK economy is expected to shrink by 11.3 per cent this year - the lar...

24-11-20 – What to expect from Rishi Sunak's Spending Review?

Chancellor Rishi Sunak will detail how taxpayers' money will be spent on health, education and the poorest households over the next 12 months, as he delivers his Spending Review on Wednesday. This process, known as a Spending Review, will also include details of how the government plans to deliver on some of the promises it made during the last election campaign, such as improving the economy of less wealthy areas of the UK. Rishi Sunak is also expected to announce pay cuts for public sector workers and give details on how much more money will be required to fight the coronavirus crisis. Usual...

24-11-20 – Non-binary identity can form basis of asylum claim, Upper Tribunal finds

A non-binary gender identity can form the basis of an asylum claim, the Upper Tribunal has expressly confirmed for the first time. The case is Mx M (gender identity – HJ (Iran) – terminology) El Salvador [2020] UKUT 313 (IAC). Mx M is a citizen of El Salvador who had originally claimed asylum as a gay man, but whose identity had evolved during their time in the UK. They now identify as non-binary and has actively campaigned on LGBTI social and political issues. While living in El Salvador, Mx M was subject to a daily barrage of homophobic abuse, including having rubbish thrown at them and on o...

24-11-20 – Coronavirus update for immigration rules as of 24 November 2020

General policy Some people who were in the UK when the pandemic hit were unable to leave before the expiry of their visa because of travel restrictions. The government had been allowing people in this situation to easily extend their visas through a simplified online application process, but that concession has now been replaced with “exceptional assurance”, a promise of extra time to stay that falls short of proper leave to remain. Exceptional assurance was initially available only to those with a visa expiring up to 31 October, but has now been extended to 30 November as part of the second E...

23-11-20 – Court of Appeal reverts to Home Office-friendly approach to service of decision letters

The Court of Appeal has decided in Alam v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 1527 that sending a decision letter to a person’s last known address will generally be sufficient proof that the letter has been received. To prove otherwise, it must be shown the letter was intercepted and did not arrive, not merely that the person was unaware of the letter. Despite the change in approach brought about by the Court of Appeal’s decision in Alam, the central lesson remains the same: advising the Home Office when you move address is important. If the Home Office sends an importan...

23-11-20 – UK-born murderer to be deported after renouncing British citizenship

A key tenet of UK deportation law is that British nationals cannot be deported: section 3(5) of the Immigration Act 1971. And yet, Sajid Zulfiqar, a man born British in the UK, will, barring any further appeals, be deported to the land of his fathers: Zulfiqar (‘Foreign criminal’ : British citizen) Pakistan [2020] UKUT 312 (IAC). Mr Zulfiqar is a sympathy free zone. He was convicted of murder in 2004, having beaten a man to death in the street with two others. He got 15 years, and it was not his first brush with the law. As a holder of Pakistani (as well as British) nationality, he attempted t...