Feb 24, 2021 - Waiting times for visa applications made in the UK

In typical Home Office fashion, years after it should have been issued, we now have some generic guidance on visa decision waiting times for applications inside the UK. Until now, we only ever had waiting times for applications outside the UK.

The standard processing time for most applications is eight weeks, with faster processing times for Start-up and Health and Care visas (three weeks). There are longer processing times (six months) for settlement applicants and those making No Time Limit applications to replace their biometric residence permit.

Experience shows that eight weeks is perhaps...

Feb 23, 2021 - UK unemployment rate rises to 5.1%

The unemployment rate has risen to its highest level in almost five years, with younger workers bearing the brunt of the job losses, the official figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

The UK's jobless rate rose to 5.1% in the three months to December, with the number of people on company payrolls down 726,000 on pre-pandemic levels.

Almost three-fifths of these were younger than 25 years.

There were, however, some early signs of stabilisation in the jobs market.

ONS said there was a small increase in the numbers of employees paid through payroll over the past couple of mo...

Feb 23, 2021 - Upper Tribunal guidance on credible documentary evidence

The Upper Tribunal in QC (verification of documents; Mibanga duty) China [2021] UKUT 33 (IAC) has given useful guidance on how to approach documentary evidence submitted by asylum appellants. 

The tribunal has also clarified the circumstances in which Home Office must make enquiries to verify an appellant’s documentary evidence before rejecting it as false (a ‘verification obligation’). In cases where the verification obligation arises, but the Home Office doesn’t do anything to verify the document’s authenticity, any complaints about whether the document is genuine will be ignored by the trib...

Feb 22, 2021 - 1000 EU financial firms plan to open UK offices

About 1,000 EU finance firms are eyeing up opening offices in the UK for the first time, according to financial consultancy Bovill.

A Freedom of Information (FOI) request by the firm found that 1,500 money managers, payment firms and insurers have applied for permission to continue operating in the UK after Brexit.

Around two-thirds had no prior physical operations in Britain, it said. It suggests London "is set to remain a key global financial centre".

"Many of these European firms will be opening offices for the first time, which is good news for UK professional advice firms across multiple ...

Feb 22, 2021 - Grace period for overstayers cannot be relied on twice

The grace period for overstayers in paragraph 39E of the Immigration Rules cannot be relied on twice. This, in short, is the conclusion of the Court of Appeal in Kalsi & Ors v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 184.

Exception for overstayers

The rules for most types of visa require that the person must not already be in the UK in breach of the immigration laws, unless paragraph 39E applies. This paragraph allows a period of overstaying to be disregarded when making a new application. It says:

39E. This paragraph applies where:

(1) the application was made within 14 days...

Feb 19, 2021 - Chancellor Rishi Sunak is set to extend emergency Covid support beyond 31 March

Rishi Sunak is set to extend business rates relief and the furlough scheme into the summer, offering further support to companies battered by coronavirus restrictions.

In his Budget next month, the chancellor is expected to announce that the year-long business rates holiday for the retail, hospitality and leisure sectors will continue beyond the previous end-date of 31 March.

Sunak will instead issue his final report on a review of business rates, which will consider a potential online sales tax to help boost high-street retailers, in the autumn.

Other support measures, including the furlough ...

Feb 19, 2021 - UK Home Office £1000 fee for children to register as British citizens is unlawful

Court rules that Home Office failed to assess and consider the impact of this fee on children and their rights

The Court of Appeal on 18 February 2021 upheld the ruling of the High Court that the £1,012 fee the Home Office charges children to register as a British citizen is unlawful.

This landmark case, brought by the Project for the Registration of Children as British Citizens (PRCBC) and O (a child), has revealed the dreadful impact of this fee on children.

In 2019, the High Court found a “mass of evidence” showing that the fee prevents many children from registering their British citizensh...

Feb 18, 2021 - UK government borrowing hits highest January level since records began

UK government borrowing hit £8.8bn last month, the highest January figure since records began in 1993, reflecting the cost of pandemic support measures.

It was the first time in 10 years that more has been borrowed in January than collected through tax and other income.

January is usually a key revenue-raising month as it is when taxpayers submit their self-assessment returns.

Tax income fell by less than £1bn, but the government spent £19.7bn more than last year on measures such as furlough.

Government borrowing for this financial year has now reached £270.6bn, which is £222bn more than a yea...

Feb 17, 2021 - House prices up 8.5% in 2020 amid tax holidays.

UK house prices climbed 8.5% in 2020, the highest annual growth rate since October 2014, according to official figures.

The average UK house price reached a record high of £252,000 in December 2020, the Office for National Statistics said.

The North West had the highest growth of 11.2%, while London rose just 3.5%.

The stamp duty holiday due to end this March contributed to the rise, the ONS said.

Spending more time at home in the pandemic meant some people also decided they needed more space.

That was reflected in the average price of detached properties climbing by twice as much as flats and...

Feb 17, 2021 - People with pre-settled status can sponsor family members under Appendix FM

Since 31 December 2020, the list of people who can sponsor a family member under Appendix FM to the Immigration Rules has included those who are “in the UK with limited leave under Appendix EU, in accordance with paragraph GEN 1.3(d)”.

As the name suggests, GEN 1.3(d) is found in the “General” section of Appendix FM. It says:

References to a person being “in the UK with limited leave under Appendix EU” mean an EEA national in the UK who holds valid limited leave to enter or remain granted under paragraph EU3 of Appendix EU to these Rules on the basis of meeting condition 1 in paragraph EU14 of...