Jul 12, 2021 - Truck driver visa options under discussion

The government has explored ways to address a shortage of haulage workers, including creating a short-term visa scheme for foreign lorry drivers.

A combination of the Covid pandemic and Brexit has left haulage firms struggling to recruit drivers.

Different government departments have discussed options with the industry, including bringing in such visas.

The industry is pushing for drivers to be added to the so-called Shortage Occupations list, allowing them to qualify for a skilled worker visa.

"We need long-term solutions to recruit a new generation of British lorry drivers into the trade, bu...

Jul 09, 2021 - UK economic growth slows in May

The UK's economy grew by 0.8% in May as coronavirus restrictions eased to allow pubs and restaurants to serve indoors.

This marked the fourth consecutive month of growth, but it was a slower rate than analysts had expected.

It was also a slowdown from April, when the economy grew 2% as restrictions eased for non-essential retailers and hospitality firms could serve outside.

The economy is still 3.1% below pre-pandemic levels, the Office for National Statistics said.

"Of course, the pace of the recovery was always going to slow as the economy climbed back towards its pre-crisis level. But we ha...

Jul 08, 2021 - Mental capacity and the immigration system

Assisting migrants who lack mental capacity to instruct a lawyer, or whose capacity fluctuates, can pose challenges. Without having clear instructions on a person’s immigration history and what they would like to do, it can often be impossible to provide legal advice and representation. Law Society guidance is also clear that solicitors can only continue to act with capacitious instructions, such as from a litigation friend.

What is mental capacity?

The Mental Capacity Act 2005 (MCA) defines “mental capacity” as the ability to make specific decisions at a specific point in time. A straightforw...

Jul 08, 2021 - House prices dip as stamp duty holiday ends

House prices dipped 0.5% in June as the stamp duty holiday began to be phased out, according to the Halifax.

Prices rose 8.8% over the year, leaving average prices still more than £21,000 higher, following a broadly unprecedented period of gains.

The lender said it was "important to put such a moderate decrease in context."

The Government removed the need to pay stamp duty on certain properties throughout much of the pandemic.

In the last year the housing market has been stimulated by stamp duty holidays in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, introduced by the government to boost the property...

Jul 06, 2021 - The Nationality and Borders Bill 2021: first impressions

The much-hyped Nationality and Borders Bill has already been published officially.

It mainly addresses asylum issues but there are some nationality provisions included as well, which we have already covered and will return to in another article soon.

Our first impressions, reading through the Bill, are that

  1. A lot of it is already law so it isn’t actually very new at all.
  2. The bits that are new are likely to lead to a lot of uncertainty and litigation, which is good for lawyers but bad for refugees and the public purse.
  3. There is some genuine nastiness included.
  4. The Bill will onl...

Jul 02, 2021 - Global tax overhaul backed by 130 countries

Officials from 130 countries have agreed to overhaul the global tax system to ensure big companies "pay a fair share" wherever they operate.

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) said on Thursday that negotiators had backed a proposed minimum corporate tax rate of at least 15%.

US Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said: "Today is an historic day for economic diplomacy."

Tax on big tech firms has been a source of friction between the US and others.

The OECD, which led the talks, said that the plans could generate about $150bn (£109bn) in tax revenues a year.

But the Pa...

Jul 01, 2021 - British citizenship for children whose parents miss the EU settled status deadline

On 1 July 2021, the British Nationality Act 1981 (Immigration Rules Appendix EU) (Amendment) Regulations 2021 (SI 2021 No. 743) introduced a new section 10A to the British Nationality Act 1981. This new section is aimed at ensuring that certain children born from 1 July 2021 onwards will automatically acquire British citizenship in situations where a parent qualified for EU settled status before that date but is only granted it after the child’s birth.

This new section, headed Acquisition in connection with immigration rules Appendix EU, will only apply in situations where a parent acquires se...

Jul 01, 2021 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 01 July 2021)

Spouses and minimum income

Quite a big group of people under particular pressure during the crisis is families where one partner is on, or about to apply for, a spouse visa or visa extension. Loss of earnings as a result of the coronavirus-induced economic crash may mean that the family fall foul of the financial requirements.

Until 8 June 2020 there was no published concession for people in this situation. There is now a section of the guidance on Changes to the minimum income and adequate maintenance requirement. It says:

If you’ve experienced a loss of income due to coronavirus up to 31 Oct...

Jul 01, 2021 - Covid: UK's furlough scheme starts to wind down

Employers will have to shoulder more of the costs of furlough from Thursday as the government starts to wind down its flagship job support scheme.

With about 1.5 million workers still on furlough, the change will affect thousands of firms across the country.

Staff will continue to receive 80% of their wages, but employers will pay part of that for the first time.

That could prompt layoffs, with older workers at greater risk of redundancy, according to one think tank.

The Institute for Fiscal Studies said the bill for employers keeping a member of staff on the scheme would rise from £155 per mo...

Jul 01, 2021 - Brexit: How many more EU nationals in UK than previously thought?

Wednesday 30 June is the deadline for EU nationals living in the UK to apply for settled status, although the government says people with a reasonable excuse for delay will still be able to apply after that.

It is now clear that far more EU citizens have been living in the country than previous estimates suggested.

As of 31 May, the government had received 5.6 million applications for the post-Brexit scheme that allows EU (and EEA) nationals to continue living and working in the UK after the end of this month.

That is far higher than the official estimate when the scheme was fully opened in Ma...