Jun 15, 2021 - UK jobs market showing signs of recovery

The jobs market is "showing signs of recovery", official figures suggest, with the unemployment rate falling and the number of job vacancies rising.

Unemployment stood at 4.7% in the three months to April, down from 4.8% previously, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

The number of job vacancies in March to May was 758,000 - just 27,000 below pre-pandemic levels.

However, unemployment among the young and those in hospitality remains high.

Sam Beckett, ONS head of economic statistics, said: "The number of employees on payroll grew strongly in May, up by almost 200,000, although it is...

Jun 15, 2021 - What is the legal definition of a refugee?

This week is Refugee Week.  We try to communicate complex legal issues in immigration and asylum law in a clear way and here we answer the question “what is a refugee?”

What is the Refugee Convention?

The full title of the Refugee Convention is the 1951 UN Convention on the Status of Refugees. The original Convention is today usually read with the 1967 New York Protocol. When lawyers refer to “the Refugee Convention” we are usually using that as shorthand for the 1951 Convention and 1967 Protocol together.

The Convention was passed by a special United Nations conference on 28 July 1951 and ent...

Jun 14, 2021 - Renting now cheaper than buying a home

It is cheaper to rent a property than it is to buy a home for the first time in more than six years.

Research by the estate agency suggests that before the pandemic began in March 2020, people buying with a 10% deposit would have been better off than renters by £102 a month.

But last month, it found the average private sector tenant was better off, spending £71 a month less in rent.

There are now only four areas in the UK where it is cheaper to buy than rent.

They are the North East, North West, Yorkshire and Humber, and Scotland.

This is in contrast to May last year, when rental demand droppe...

Jun 14, 2021 - What is the difference between refugee status and humanitarian protection?

On the face of it, refugee status and humanitarian protection seem like two sides of the same coin. Both are a form of international protection granted to a person in need. Both result in a grant of five years’ permission to remain in the UK on a pathway to settlement after that. They give most of the same rights to work, study and access benefits.

But as we shall see, they are underpinned by very different legal frameworks, and refugee status is undoubtedly superior to a grant of humanitarian protection in several ways.

Before we delve into the advantages of refugee status, we will take a qui...

Jun 14, 2021 - EU Settlement Scheme coronavirus policy relaxed

On 10 June 2021 the Home Office reissued its guidance on coronavirus and the EU Settlement Scheme. Originally published in December 2020, it was withdrawn last month following a legal challenge. The new version is considerably more generous than the old.

In a nutshell, the guidance now allows for people with EU pre-settled status to be out of the UK for up to 12 months for “any coronavirus related reason” without breaking their continuous residence. This includes where they remain abroad by choice. Previously, the guidance only really catered for situations where the person was forced to remai...

Jun 11, 2021 - UK economy grows in April and May as shops reopen

The UK economy grew 2.3% in April, its fastest monthly growth since July last year.

Shoppers spent more on the High Street as non-essential shops reopened, and people bought more cars and caravans.

There was also more spending in pubs, cafes and restaurants as restrictions eased the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said.

Despite the surge in activity, the UK economy is still 3.7% below its pre-pandemic peak.

Construction fell in April, compared to strong growth the previous month, but the sector remains above its pre-pandemic peak.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said that the figures were "a promi...

Jun 10, 2021 - Is Grandma allowed to stay? Retained rights of residence for in-laws

One of the trickier aspects of EU free movement law is “retained” rights of residence for family members if the relationship with their EEA citizen sponsor ends. A common scenario is where an EEA national marries a non-EEA national who then travels to the UK as their spouse. After a few years, the non-EEA national’s parents — the in-laws — come to the UK and are granted a residence card as family members. What then happens if the marriage between sponsor and spouse fails prior to the in-laws securing permanent residence (i.e. five years)?

EU law rights of residence come to end in less than a m...

Jun 10, 2021 - UK economy lags behind other countries in Covid recovery

The UK's recovery from the damage caused by the Covid pandemic lagged behind other big economies in the first three months of 2021.

Economic output was 8.7% below pre-pandemic levels at the end of 2019, said the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).

Overall, the economic output of the G20 group of major economies edged ahead, led by India, Turkey and China.

But most others, such as Italy, Germany and the EU as a whole, shrank.

A country's Gross Domestic Product (GDP) or economic output measures how well or badly an economy is doing.

The OECD think tank said GDP in the ...

Jun 10, 2021 - High Court finds the EU Settlement Scheme rules for Zambrano carers unlawful

In a welcome judgment handed down yesterday, R (Akinsanya) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 1535 (Admin), Mr Justice Mostyn found in no uncertain terms that Zambrano carers do not lose their EU law right to reside just because they have permission to remain granted under a route other than Appendix EU of the Immigration Rules. Up to now, the Home Office had been refusing to grant Appendix EU status to Zambrano carers who already had some kind of permission to remain (typically as a parent under Appendix FM)

Background: carers shut out of settled status

If you’re not alr...

Jun 10, 2021 - You can now get an EU Settlement Scheme application form by email

Most people applying to the EU Settlement Scheme do so online. A minority of people cannot, generally those who are not EU citizens but who nevertheless qualify for the EU Settlement Scheme under a variety of scenic routes (known to lawyers as Zambrano, Chen, Ibrahim, Surinder Singh and Lounes). Those people have to call the Settlement Scheme helpline and ask for a paper application form to be posted out, filled in and returned. It’s much more of a faff.

With 20 days to go before the Settlement Scheme deadline, the Home Office now says that these application forms can be ordered and returned b...