06-08-20 – Good news for migrants falsely accused of English language test cheating

Migrants who win an appeal after being wrongly accused of cheating on their English language visa test should now get a proper grant of leave to remain as a result. Following a legal challenge, the Home Office has committed to granting two and a half years of leave to migrants who win a TOEIC appeal based on their Article 8 rights. The commitment comes after solicitors brought a judicial review on behalf of a client, MM, who was cleared of cheating on appeal but only granted 60 days’ leave. The solicitors describe that as “an insult to the years that he has spent fighting to clear his name”, b...

05-08-20 – UK chancellor is considering an increase in business rates for most valuable properties

Chancellor Rishi Sunak is considering increasing business rates for the most valuable properties, having called for industry opinion on whether high end shops, offices and other large premises should pay a new, higher business rate. Feedback has also been requested on proposals to create different rates for different types of businesses. As part of a review of the levy, the Treasury warns that failing to raise enough revenue from business rates could put pressure on "other parts of the tax system". However, there are concerns the increase could hurt retail firms already struggling, with job lo...

04-08-20 – Easier access to benefits for family members of people from Northern Ireland

People from Northern Ireland will soon be able to sponsor non-European family members under the light-touch EU Settlement Scheme. The government has recently passed a separate but related measure: the Social Security (Income-Related Benefits) (Persons of Northern Ireland – Family Members) (Amendment) Regulations 2020. The aim of the regulations is to enable such family members to claim benefits in Great Britain “on broadly the same terms as family members of citizens of the Republic of Ireland”. An accompanying memo explains: Family members of citizens of the Republic of Ireland granted [pre-s...

31-07-20 – Coronavirus: PM postpones lockdown easing in England

The further easing of coronavirus restrictions in England - due to come in this weekend - has been postponed for at least two weeks, amid concerns over an increase in coronavirus cases. Mr Johnson said planned reopening for 1 August would be delayed for at least a fortnight. That means venues such as casinos, bowling alleys, skating rinks and remaining close contact services must remain closed until 15 August. Indoor performances will also not resume, pilots of larger gatherings in sports venues and conference centres will not take place, and the planned expansion of wedding receptions to allo...

30-07-20 – Huge increase in no recourse to public funds applications

The number of migrants applying to lift their visa condition of “no recourse to public funds” in order to access the welfare safety net has surged during the pandemic, new Home Office data shows. There were almost 5,700 applications to have the NRPF condition lifted in April, May and June 2020, compared to 914 in the same quarter last year — a 520% increase. Around 90% of the applications decided on in that period were granted, although around half were still pending at the end of the quarter. Coronavirus and the accompanying economic crash have thrown many people out of work, and migrants wit...

30-07-20 – Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 30 July 2020)

If you are in the UK and your leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 If you had a visa that expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 you were able to request an extension if you were not able to return home because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). If you decide to leave the UK To allow time to make the necessary arrangements to leave the UK, if you have a visa or leave that was due to expire between the 24 January 2020 and 31 August 2020, you’ll be able to stay within the UK to 31 August 2020. From 1 to 31 August 2020, the cond...

30-07-20 – New law to ensure furloughed employees receive full redundancy payments

Government brings in law to ensure furloughed employees receive statutory redundancy pay based on their normal wages, rather than a reduced furlough rate. Workers with more than two years continuous service who are made redundant are usually entitled to a statutory redundancy payment that is based on length of service, age and pay, up to a statutory maximum. But many of the UK's 9.5 million furloughed workers are being paid at 80% of their normal wage. This legislation, which will come into force from tomorrow (Friday 31 July), will ensure that employees who are furloughed receive statutory re...

29-07-20 – Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 29 July 2020)

If you are in the UK and your leave expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 If you had a visa that expired between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020 you were able to request an extension if you were not able to return home because of travel restrictions or self-isolation related to coronavirus (COVID-19). Now travel restrictions are lifting globally you will no longer be able to extend your visa automatically on this basis and you are expected to take all reasonable steps to leave the UK where it is possible to do so or apply to regularise your stay in the UK. If you decide to leave th...

24-07-20 – The government's 10-years tax administration strategy

A new government report Building a trusted, modern tax administration system sets the government’s vision for the future of tax administration in the United Kingdom, designed to improve its resilience, effectiveness and support for taxpayers. As part of this 10 years vision, the document sets out a roadmap for the extension of Making Tax Digital (MTD) and opens up a wider conversation on longer term reforms to the tax administration system. HMRC confirmed that MTD would be extended as follows: MTD for VAT will apply to all VAT registered businesses, regardless of turnover, from April 2022...

22-07-20 – The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa

Details about the visa scheme for British National (Overseas) citizens in Hong Kong have finally been published on 22 July 2020 in a policy statement. The key pieces of information published today are that: the new visa route will open in January 2021,  British National (Overseas) citizens in the UK will be permitted to switch in-country without departing from the UK British National (Overseas) citizens and their family members arriving at the UK border before January 2021 can be granted “Leave Outside the Rules” for a limited period of six months. If a British National (Overseas...