Mar 08, 2021 - Covid-19: Rapid testing available to all businesses in England

Workplace Covid testing is now available to all businesses in England, the government has announced, including those with fewer than 50 employees.

Businesses of all sizes can register from Saturday to order lateral flow tests for their workers, the Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) said.

Rapid Covid-19 testing provides results in less than 30 minutes, helping people to "isolate immediately", DHSC said.

The tests are free until 30 June, and companies can register until 31 March.

The hope is that asymptomatic cases can be detected quickly, thereby preventing workplace outbreaks.

So far...

Mar 05, 2021 - Introduction of declaration forms for travelling outside England from 08 March 2021

Anyone travelling overseas from England from Monday will have to prove they are allowed to travel, or risk being turned away from the airport and fined.

They will need to complete a "Declaration to Travel" document from a government website. 

The form sets out that their trip is permitted under current restrictions, such as for education or work.

Police officers will be conducting spot checks and may ask travellers to produce a completed form.

It will be an offence to fail to produce a completed form and individuals could face a £200 fine, the Department for Transport warned.

The form must be ...

Mar 04, 2021 - New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules: HC 1248 - changes take effect on 6 April 2021

The Home Office published a new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules today. It is 108 pages long and the changes take effect on 6 April 2021 unless otherwise specified. Most relate to the work and study routes branded as the Points Based Immigration System, although there are various tweaks to other parts of the Rules as well.

The new Graduate visa

There is a new section of the Rules called Appendix Graduate. This says, among other things, that someone applying for permission to remain in the UK must be here already on a Student visa. The conceit that the UK operates a proper points-b...

Mar 03, 2021 - Immigration measures in the 2021 Budget

Among the key points highlighted by the Treasury from today’s Budget is “reforms to the immigration system [to] help ambitious UK businesses attract the brightest and best international talent”. As a policy prescription, this is up there with motherhood and apple pie; even the most ardent restrictionists are in favour of letting in “the brightest and best”, and even that specific phrase is wearily familiar.

Nevertheless, with the grumbling out of our system, we can turn to the Budget’s supporting documents to check what the government means by “reforms”. There is indeed some detail:


Mar 03, 2021 - Budget 2021: key points at a glance

Chancellor Rishi Sunak has unveiled the contents of his Budget in the House of Commons today 3 March 2021.

Setting out the government's tax and spending plans for the year ahead, he announced new measures to help business and jobs through the pandemic and to support the UK's long-term economic recovery and a series of tax-raising plans to help rebalance the public finances.

Measures to support business are outlined in more detail below, including a further extension of the furlough scheme; grants for the self-employed; restart grants for the most hard-hit business sectors; an extension of the ...

Mar 02, 2021 - Lengthy absences from the UK can put EU settled status at risk

For most people, the EU Settlement Scheme has largely lived up to its government billing as generous and straightforward, but confusion over permitted absences is likely to cause some European residents trouble down the line.

People with pre-settled status, in particular, need to be aware of the absence rules. If they have been outside the UK for more than six months in any 12-month period, they will now only be able to upgrade to settled status if they returned to the UK before 31 December 2020.  

People who already have settled status, or have clocked up the necessary five years and intend t...

Mar 02, 2021 - Covid: How many people get self-isolation payments?

About two-thirds of people in England and Wales trying to access the £500 self-isolation support payment are being rejected, according to figures obtained by BBC Reality Check.

The government announced the payment in September 2020, saying it would "ensure that those on low incomes are able to self-isolate without worry about their finances".

It estimated just under 4 million people would be eligible.

The government's scientific advisors, Sage, have warned repeatedly that concerns over money could lead to people breaking the rules on self-isolation.

If a person tests positive for coronavirus o...

Feb 26, 2021 - Lack of legal advice for migrants in prison ruled “discriminatory”

The High Court in SM v Lord Chancellor [2021] EWHC 418 (Admin) has held that free legal advice must be made available to immigration detainees held in prisons, bringing access to lawyers into line with the legal advice scheme operating in immigration removal centres (“IRCs”).

In a significant loss for the Legal Aid Agency, the court held that detainees in prison suffered discriminatory treatment due to obstacles in getting legal advice that is exempt from legal aid eligibility rules, available as of right to those in IRCs. The court held that the lack of equivalent treatment was unjustifiable ...

Feb 25, 2021 - UK 'needs a wake-up call' over fintech investment.

The UK risks losing its dominance in financial services - unless the government backs one of its most important export industries.

That's according to a major new report on arguably the UK's most globally influential sector: Fintech - the combination of finance and technology.

Ron Kalifa, the chairman of upstart-turned-giant Worldpay was tasked with drafting a report on how the UK could (and should) reinforce its leading position in financial innovation by accelerating investment in fintech.

While the UK continues to beat European competition in attracting new investment, he reported an uncomf...

Feb 24, 2021 - Fraudsters stepped up efforts in new year, HMRC figures show

Scam attempts by fraudsters masquerading as the UK's tax authority surged as potential victims completed tax returns while staying at home.

Con-artists attempted to take advantage of the self-assessment filing deadline at the end of January to flood people with fake texts, emails and calls.

They posed as HM Revenue and Customs (HMRC) officials and attempted to steal personal financial details.

Phone scam reports to HMRC tripled compared with December, it said.

There were a total of 33,053 reports in January, in addition to 46,210 phishing emails, and 26,643 suspicious text messages during the ...