Dec 21, 2021 - Covid: Rishi Sunak announces £1bn fund for businesses

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has set out a £1bn fund to help businesses hit by the rise in Covid cases, including the leisure and hospitality sector.

Hospitality businesses like pubs and restaurants will be able to apply for cash grants of up to £6,000 per premises.

The government would also help some firms with the cost of sick pay for Covid-related absences, Mr Sunak said.

And he announced an extra £30m to help theatres and museums.

Many hospitality and leisure firms have been hit by a collapse in bookings and reduced footfall due to people's fears over the spread of the Omicron variant.

Mr Sunak ...

Dec 17, 2021 - Right to Rent Update – what is new from 6 April 2022

The way in which Biometric Residence Card (BRC), Biometric Residence Permit (BRP) and Frontier Worker Permit (FWP) holders evidence their right to rent is changing. From 6 April 2022, BRC, BRP and FWP holders will evidence their right to rent using the Home Office online service only, presentation of a physical document will no longer be acceptable.

This means that, from 6 April 2022, landlords will no longer be able to accept or check a physical BRC, BRP or FWP as valid proof of right to rent, even if it shows a later expiry date. 

Landlords do not need to retrospectively check the status o...

Dec 16, 2021 - Victims win court ruling that some laws on applying for naturalization can be waived in special cases

Two victims of the Windrush scandal have won a High Court challenge arguing for citizenship law to be applied more leniently in special cases like theirs. Mr Justice Bourne held today that a seemingly inflexible provision of British nationality law requiring applicants to be physically in the UK exactly five years before they apply for naturalisation can be waived where insisting on it would be a human rights breach. The case is R (Vanriel & Anor) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 3415 (Admin).

Windrush victims denied British citizenship

Vernon Vanriel, the first claiman...

Dec 16, 2021 - Bank of England raises interest rates to 0.25%

The Bank of England has raised interest rates for the first time in more than three years, in response to calls to tackle surging price rises.

The increase to 0.25% from 0.1% came despite fears that the Omicron variant of Covid could slow the UK economy by causing people to spend less.

The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) voted 8-1 in favour of the increase.

Rates had been at 0.1%, a record low, since March last year, when they were cut in response to the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. It was the second month in a row that Bank policymakers had surprised the markets.

Economists had...

Dec 09, 2021 - Four-year maximum sentences for visa overstayers

The Nationality and Borders Bill 2021, about which we reported previously here has passed its third reading in the House of Commons and now goes to the House of Lords on 5 January 2022.

The House of Lords will very likely vote to remove some of the more egregious provisions, and it is always possible that the government will accept a few of those suggestions.

One change of the Bill is to make knowingly overstaying a visa punishable by up to four years’ imprisonment (currently the maximum is six months, very rarely prosecuted).

This is being done by adding a new subsection B1A into section 24 o...

Nov 30, 2021 - Priority visa services – for those able to apply using the ID Check app

From 30 November 2021, priority visa (PV) services will be available to EU nationals holding a biometric passport from an EU country (including Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway or Switzerland) and who are applying via the UK Immigration: ID Check app available both in and out of the UK for the following routes:

  • Skilled worker
  • Health and Care worker
  • Student

For applications made via the ID Check app, the PV processing time is usually a 5 UK working day service. PV starts on the beginning of the next working day after submission of the visa application (not including weekends) once t...

Nov 25, 2021 - Global Business Mobility visa

The Global Business Mobility visa is set to commence in spring 2022 to provide new solutions for overseas firms transferring staff to the UK.

So how much of this route will be genuinely new and useful rather than consolidating existing options in a rebranding exercise?

Who will be able to use the Global Business Mobility route?

The Global Business Mobility visa will have five pathways for overseas firms to establish a UK footprint or transfer staff to the UK. 

  1. Senior or specialist worker to meet specific business needs
  2. Graduate trainee as part of a training programme
  3. Secondment wo...

Nov 08, 2021 - Autumn Budget 2021: Analysis

The Chancellor’s Autumn Budget speech had a strong sense of industrial strategy and revealed a change in the Treasury’s direction from low taxes and spending restraint to direct intervention in supporting particular industries.

No fundamental reform of the tax system was announced, the focus was clearly on government investment to back further economic growth in the post covid era.

The centrepiece of the Spending Review and Autumn Budget 2021 was the already announced an increase to the rates of dividend tax by 1.25% from 6 April 2022 to help fund the new planned investment in health and socia...

Nov 01, 2021 - New statement of changes for the Pork butchers visa

The latest statement of changes to the Immigration Rules allows pork butchers to come into the UK as Seasonal Workers for up to six months. It came into force at 4pm on 1 November 2021.

As we have reported last month, the government announced that 800 temporary visas would be made available to foreign pork butchers as part of various measures to support the pig industry.

The government confirmed that pork butchers who are recruited as Seasonal Workers must be paid the same minimum salary as they would under Skilled Worker:

The applicant must have a Certificate of Sponsorship for the job they a...

Nov 01, 2021 - Challenge to automatic British citizenship for Northern Irish people thrown out

In Re Ní Chuinneagain [2021] NIQB 79 the High Court in Northern Ireland has thrown out a challenge to automatic British citizenship for people who reject it.

The claimant is from Belfast and regards herself as 100% Irish, from passport to first language.

Section 1(1) of the British Nationality Act 1981 says that she is also a British citizen.

Ms Ní Chuinneagain objects, and refuses her unwanted second nationality, saying that “doing so would represent an acceptance that she was born a British citizen, in addition to having to pay the administrative cost involved”.

Mr Justice Scoffield conclude...