Jun 09, 2021 - Can you get compensation if an immigration officer acts unlawfully?

This is the question addressed by Scotland’s Sheriff Appeal Court in Galbraith Trawlers Limited v Advocate General for Scotland [2021] SAC (Civ) 15.

Fishing boats impounded over illegal immigration charges

In 2015, an immigration officer issued letters purporting to detain three of its fishing vessels. Mr Galbraith, the company’s owner, had hired Filipino fishing crew and was charged with facilitating illegal immigration. Mr Galbraith’s position has always been that the crew was permitted to enter the UK without visas under section 8 of the Immigration Act 1971, in the same way that airline ca...

Jun 08, 2021 - Home movers dominate mortgage borrowing

Home movers were responsible for a record proportion of mortgage borrowing in the first three months of the year as they dominated demand for property.

Some 42% of total mortgage lending went to this group - the highest level since comparable records began in 2007, the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) said.

This was up from 27% of lending a year earlier, the regulator said.

It was in contrast to first-time buyers whose share of loans was up by just two percentage points in the same period.

The UK housing market has been surging this year with potential buyers competing for homes.

This demand ...

Jun 08, 2021 - Economy faces long Covid if debts not tackled

Hospitality, retail and leisure firms are facing huge levels of debt as the economy reopens, industry bodies have told the government.

Kate Nicholls, the boss of Hospitality UK, warned of "long Covid for the economy, if you're not very careful".

Speaking to the Treasury Select Committee, other trade bodies said government support had not been adequate during the pandemic.

Ms Nicholls told MPs that the industry had amassed £2.5bn of rent debt.

She added that the hospitality sector was coming out of lockdown with another £6bn worth of government debt accrued through schemes such as the Coronavir...

Jun 08, 2021 - New data matching powers are a threat to migrant communities

The government’s threat to increase its use of data matching is now becoming a reality with plans to expand the National Fraud Initiative (NFI). If implemented, the proposals would extend data matching powers from their current use in tackling fraud to cover other criminal activity, as well as debt recovery and data quality.

What is data matching?

Data matching, as described by the Information Commissioner’s Office, involves “combining, comparing or matching personal data obtained from multiple sources”.

Currently, the NFI collects more than 20 data types over 8,000 datasets from 1,300 partici...

Jun 07, 2021 - G7 reach deal to stop global corporate tax avoidance

The G7 group of advanced economies has reached a "historic" deal to make multinational companies pay more tax.

Finance ministers meeting in London agreed to battle tax avoidance by making companies pay more in the countries where they do business.

They also agreed in principle to a global minimum corporate tax rate of 15% to avoid countries undercutting each other.

Tech giants Amazon and Facebook are among those likely to be affected.

The deal announced on Saturday, between the US, the UK, France, Germany, Canada, Italy and Japan, plus the EU, could see billions of dollars flow to governments ...

Jun 04, 2021 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 04 June 2021)

People stuck outside the UK

On 11 January 2021, the Home Office published a Covid Visa Concession Scheme. It is designed to help people who had permission to live in the UK but whose permission expired while they were stuck abroad due to coronavirus travel restrictions, leaving them unable to return. Provided they meet the eligibility criteria in the guidance, such people will be granted entry clearance valid for three months to allow them to travel back to the UK and apply properly to extend their stay. 

Those who left the UK after 17 March 2020 will only be considered for this concession in...

Jun 03, 2021 - Murderer’s bid to be deported foiled by extradition request

A convicted murderer and father of a Portuguese football star has lost a legal challenge arguing for his own deportation in order to get out of prison earlier than the Parole Board will allow. The case is R (Lopes) v Secretary of State for the Home Department & Anr [2021] EWCA Civ 805.

Convicted of murder in the UK

Filomeno Antonio Lopes, 53, is originally from Guinea-Bissau but moved to Portugal in the early 1990s. He is wanted by the Portuguese authorities for several armed robberies allegedly committed in 1999. That same year, he came to the UK — the government’s take is that he “fled” Port...

Jun 02, 2021 - Home Office accidentally discriminates against trafficking victims with kids

The High Court has declared that an anomaly in the benefits system which disadvantages victims of trafficking who receive asylum support is discriminatory and in breach of Article 14 of the European Convention on Human Rights. Unusually, the Secretary of State confessed to the court that she was not sure how the difference in treatment had happened and her only defence was that she wanted more time to think about how to fix it. Having granted her five extensions to prepare her case, in R (MD) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWHC 1370 (Admin) the High Court decided enough wa...

Jun 01, 2021 - Illegal working checks must adapt to the work-from-home age

All being well, the government’s advice to work from home looks likely to be lifted from 21 June 2021. With offices filling up, and city streets bustling, normal working life is starting to resume. But remote working patterns are clearly popular with workers and employers, and are likely to be around for some time to come. 

The growth in remote working has implications for the obligations of employers under immigration law, particularly in relation to checking their employees’ right to work in the UK. This system has traditionally required the physical presence of the employee or their immigra...

Jun 01, 2021 - Trafficking authorities not experts on trafficking says criminal Court of Appeal

The Court of Appeal’s Criminal Division has concluded that Home Office trafficking decisions are not admissible in criminal proceedings. Brecani v R [2021] EWCA Crim 731 concerned a 17-year-old convicted of taking part in a conspiracy to supply cocaine. During the trial, the Single Competent Authority — the arm of the Home Office that deals with trafficking cases — issued a conclusive grounds decision that he is a victim of trafficking, but the judge refused to admit it as evidence. The Court of Appeal confirmed that this decision was correct.

As a general rule, opinion evidence is excluded in...