News

Feb 05, 2021 - The UK Chancellor offers more help to 1.4m firms repaying Covid loans

Businesses struggling during the pandemic are to be given more time to make the first repayment on government support loans.

The changes include giving companies an option to extend the length of the loan from six to ten years under a "pay-as-you-grow" initiative.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the move was to give companies "breathing space to get back on their feet".

About £45bn has been borrowed by more than 1.4 million small firms under the Bounce Back Loan scheme, which offers cheap loans of up to £50,000.

Under the existing scheme, firms get interest-free loans for the first year. But many ...

Feb 05, 2021 - Covid-19: New UK hotel quarantine plan

Foreign Office minister James Cleverly has defended the government's plan to quarantine travellers in hotels, which begins on 15 February.

Arrivals from Covid variant hotspots will have to stay in a hotel for 10 nights.

Mr Cleverly said he did not know how many hotels had signed up yet.                                                                                                                                             

Labour said the scheme should be extended to all international travellers - not just some countries.

The hotel quarantine requirements are being introduced in an effort to...

Feb 04, 2021 - Six very frequently asked questions about the EU Settlement Scheme

As we approach 30 June 2021, the deadline to apply for the EU Settlement Scheme, people are increasingly and understandably worried about their applications. In this post, we try to answer some of the most commonly asked questions about the scheme, for those who haven’t applied yet.

1. What if… I don’t have an identity document?

Generally speaking, the Home Office will expect all applicants, including children, to submit a valid identity document. “Valid” means not expired.

For EU citizens — including, for the purposes of this article, citizens of Norway, Iceland, Liechtenstein and Switzerland...

Feb 03, 2021 - Brexit: UK to set up new state aid rules for business

Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng sets out plans for a new UK-wide subsidy control system, for providing more flexible and tailored financial support to businesses.

Business Secretary wants local authorities and regional governments to have more power.

The EU rules were there to stop governments from providing companies with unfair advantages through cheap loans, tax breaks or funding. Now it has left the EU, the UK needs its own rules.

"Our new, more flexible system will empower public authorities and devolved administrations, and ensure fair competition for businesses across the UK," Mr Kwar...

Feb 01, 2021 - Firms call for details of post lockdown reopening so they can plan

Business leaders have called on the government to work with them on a roadmap out of lockdown to unlock investment for a post-Covid recovery.

In a letter to Business Secretary Kwasi Kwarteng, the Confederation of British Industry says the time to plan for re-opening the economy in England is now.

Firms are "in the dark" about planning for the months ahead, the employers' group said.

A government spokesperson said lockdown would be lifted as soon as possible.

But the CBI, which speaks on behalf of about 190,000 businesses, said there is an opportunity to "use time wisely" to prepare for a safe ...

Feb 01, 2021 - Appeal judges reject challenge to domestic abuse policy

In FA (Sudan) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 59, the Court of Appeal has confirmed that someone applying to stay in the UK under the domestic abuse rules must have had permission to remain as a partner. This appeal was a bold challenge to the validity of that requirement, on the basis that it was discriminatory. 

Background: the domestic abuse provisions

The case concerned the policy on short-term help for migrant victims of domestic abuse, originally introduced in April 2012 and now called the Destitute domestic violence concession (destitution being one of the c...

Jan 29, 2021 - Mobile visa application system launches in February 2021 for Hong Kong British National Overseas citizens

Government press offices have a habit of re-announcing popular policies, and so it is with the BNO visa. The Home Office has confirmed that the special visa scheme for people from Hong Kong with British National (Overseas) citizenship opens for applications from 31 January 2021.

The application process is digital first: applicants with a biometric chip in their passport will be able to use a smartphone app, just like with the EU Settlement Scheme, rather than turn up to a visa appointment in person. This Covid-friendly process only starts up on 23 February, though. In that sense you could argu...

Jan 29, 2021 - Upper Tribunal has no jurisdiction to correct appeal deadline error

Ndwanyi (Permission to appeal; challenging decision on timeliness) Rwanda [2020] UKUT 378 (IAC) is about how a respondent can challenge a decision that an application for permission to appeal is in time, when in fact it is not in time.

In this case the Home Office had lost the appeal in the First-tier Tribunal and sought permission to appeal. They had 14 calendar days to do so. The decision was promulgated on 20 December 2019, which meant the deadline for filing the application for permission to appeal was 6 January 2020. The Home Office filed the application on 7 January 2020 and asked for an...

Jan 27, 2021 - Deportation appeal not a “dress rehearsal” says Court of Appeal

Lowe v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 62 is about the role of the Upper Tribunal in deportation appeals. The role of an appellate court when reviewing the findings of fact made by the court below sounds straightforward: it will only intervene if the findings are irrational or perverse on the basis of the evidence. But applying that apparently clear principle in practice can be messy. The split Court of Appeal in this case illustrates how.

The underlying issue in the deportation appeal was narrow. The appellant had been sentenced to less than four years in prison and...

Jan 26, 2021 - Procedural unfairness arguments unlikely to help in Points Based System refusals

The Court of Appeal has held that there is no right based on procedural fairness for a migrant to be offered a chance to cure deficiencies in his or her Points Based System application before it is refused. The case is R (Taj) v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2021] EWCA Civ 19. Practitioners considering such challenges may wish to note the two-stage test set out in the judgment of Lord Justice Green.

Facts

Mr Taj appealed against refusal of his application for permission to remain in the UK as a Tier 1 (Entrepreneur). The main reason for refusal was that he failed the “genuineness...