Apr 19, 2021 - Mortgage scheme launched for 5% deposits
High Street lenders are now starting to offer mortgages to borrowers offering a deposit of just 5% under a new government guarantee scheme.
The policy, announced in the Budget, is designed to help more first-time buyers secure a home.
But the launch comes as average house prices in the UK continue to rise to record levels.
Analysts also suggest that cheaper deals are available for those able to stretch to a 10% deposit.
The scheme is similar to policies previously used to boost the housing market and the economy, as well as offering support to those buying a home for the first time.
The new sc...
Apr 16, 2021 - Passports can be issued to British children abroad without abusive father’s consent
Her Majesty’s Passport Office was wrong to insist on signed consent for child passports from an abusive father, the High Court has held in R (GA & Ors) v Secretary of State for the Home Department  EWHC 868 (Admin).
British children refused passports
The claimants were a British mother (GA) and her four British children. The children are all under 16. Their names are anonymised, as is “Country X” where the children live.
GA met a man from Country X, moved there, married him, and had her first three children there. Country X is a patriarchal society in which fathers are recognised as the...
Apr 15, 2021 - Being taken to court means we’re doing our job, Home Office officials say
Some interesting nuggets from a new report on judicial review, published today by the Institute for Government. The Home Office is the department most affected by this particular type of legal challenge, accounting for 80% of JRs between 2007 and 2013, of which most related to immigration and asylum decisions.
As well as examining the data, the researchers also spoke to civil servants about their attitude to judicial review and the effect it has on policy-making. The Home Office contribution is revealing.
One official spoke of how being taken to court is an inevitable consequence of tougher en...
Apr 13, 2021 - UK exports to EU rebound partially after January's slump
Trade between the UK and EU partially recovered in February, after a steep drop in January following Brexit.
Official figures show exports to the EU jumped 46.6%, although that followed January's 42% slump as firms struggled with new trade rules.
Imports from the EU, too, picked up, albeit by a weaker 7.3%, after falling 29.7% in January.
Separate figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) showed the UK economy grew by 0.4% in February. However, the ONS said the economy was still 7.8% smaller than a year earlier, before the impact of the pandemic. Covid restrictions remained in plac...
Apr 12, 2021 - Sponsor licence inspection visits back on
UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) has confirmed that with lockdown easing, it is resuming sponsor licence compliance visits. Initial visits will be focused on organisations that have a pending sponsor licence application.
Confirming the resumption of visits in a recent message on the Sponsorship Management System, UKVI was keen to emphasise that visits will be carried out in a Covid-safe manner:
FOR THE ATTENTION OF ALL SPONSORS: Due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic and the restrictions imposed by the UK Government in December 2020, all sponsorship and compliance auditing was suspended. As the U...
Apr 08, 2021 - Home Office: It can take up to ten weeks to get a British passport instead of usual three
The Home Office warns that processing applications for a British passport can take three times longer than usual due to increased demand for replacement documents.
Now it can take up to 10 weeks to get a British passport.
For example, if you apply today, you should not expect a passport before 17 June 2021.
According to official data, in 2020, about four million people applied for a British passport, but after the lifting of the travel ban, the number of applicants may increase.
British citizens whose passports will soon become invalid will be sent text messages asking them to take care of the...
Apr 07, 2021 - Confirmed: no right of appeal where limited instead of indefinite leave is granted
When someone applies for indefinite leave to remain in the UK, but is granted limited leave to remain instead, that decision does not attract a right of appeal. So held President Lane of the Upper Tribunal last year in the case of Mujahid  UKUT 85 (IAC).
In a judgment handed down on 31 March 2021, the Court of Appeal has upheld the Upper Tribunal’s finding. In summary, the reasoning is that, by granting leave to remain to Mr Mujahid, the Home Office accepted that it would be a violation of his human rights to remove him from the UK. The Home Office was not, therefore, refusing a human ri...
Apr 06, 2021 - Universal Credit and benefits increase coming into force from 6 April 2021
New rates for the main benefit as well as Jobseeker's Allowance and Personal Independent Payment come in at the start of the new tax year.
Benefit payments increased last April for the first rise in six years, increasing by 1.7% after an end to the benefit freeze.
And this year, many benefits will rise again from 6 April 2021.
Universal Credit claimants will also continue to benefit from a £20 a week uplift, which was introduced last year as a temporary measure to help people overcome the coronavirus crisis.
Chancellor Rishi Sunak then extended the boost for another six months in the Budget on...
Apr 06, 2021 - Home Office immigration and nationality fees for 2021-2022
The updated list of fees for immigration and nationality applications that apply from 6 April 2021 shows that all remain unchanged from last year.
This marks the third financial year running that headline application fees have been largely frozen, having last increased significantly in April 2018.
Apr 05, 2021 - Tax Rates for 2021/2022
TAX RATES, ALLOWANCES AND RELIEFS FOR 2021/2022
Income limit for personal allowance
Married couple's allowance maximum amount (for those born before 6 April 1935)