Jan 15, 2021 - UK economy shrank by 2.6% in November

The UK economy shrank by 2.6% in November as fresh lockdown restrictions in England reduced economic activity, official figures show.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said it meant gross domestic product was 8.5% below its pre-pandemic peak.

This decline means the UK’s six-month run of growth since the first lockdown ended has now halted, and could be the first step towards a double-dip recession.

The services sector was hit hard, although some manufacturing and construction activity improved.

The closure of businesses such as pubs, hairdressers and many shops meant the sector contract...

Jan 14, 2021 - Covid Visa Concession Scheme

As a result of COVID-19 global travel restrictions, some persons who had leave to enter or remain in the UK have been unable to return to the UK to make an application for leave to remain (LTR) or indefinite leave to remain (ILR) before their current leave expires.

If they are a visa national, as they no longer have valid leave, they may not be able to return to the UK due to the carriers’ liability regime. The government’s position is that those affected by COVID-19 travel restrictions should not be penalised for circumstances beyond their control.

This scheme applies to the migrants who left...

Jan 13, 2021 - Coronavirus in the UK: updates regarding the immigration rules (as of 12 January 2021)

People stuck in the UK

Some people who were in the UK when the pandemic hit were unable to leave before the expiry of their visa because of travel restrictions. The government had been allowing people in this situation to easily extend their visas through a simplified online application process, but that concession has now been replaced with “exceptional assurance”, a promise of extra time to stay that falls short of proper leave to remain.

Exceptional assurance was initially available only to those with a visa expiring up to 31 October, but the cut-off point has been pushed back as the virus ...

Jan 13, 2021 - Rare statistics show rise in number of deportation orders upheld on appeal

One quirk of government statistics is that they no longer record how many deportation orders are successfully appealed. For tedious reasons of appeals law, since 2015/16 the relevant stats have only shown deportation appeals by EU citizens; deportation appeals by non-EU citizens are lumped into a larger category of “human rights”. So while we know that from 2010/11 to 2015/16, around two thirds of all deportation orders were upheld by the First-tier Tribunal, we don’t really know what has been happening over the past five years.

This is internal data collected by the Appeals Operations team, s...

Jan 13, 2021 - Tribunal defines “historic injustice”

Lawyers are prone to creating “terms of art”, i.e. a phrase which has a specific meaning within a particular branch of law, distinct from its usage in ordinary English. In Patel (historic injustice; NIAA Part 5A) India [2020] UKUT 351 (IAC), the Upper Tribunal defines the phrases “historic injustice” and “historical injustice”, creating two new terms of art to be used when considering immigration cases under Article 8 of the European Convention on Human Rights.

“Historic” vs “historical” injustices

The judgment opens with extracts from the Oxford English Dictionary, which defines “historic” as...

Jan 13, 2021 - Covid: Record number of small firms 'set to close'

The quarterly monitor by the Federation of Small Businesses (FSB) suggests that a record number of small businesses expect to shut in the next 12 months unless the Government steps in with more help.

This number, the highest since the FSB began collecting data in the aftermath of the financial crisis, does not include thousands more of the UK's 5.9 million small firms which are struggling but hope to continue trading.

Among other groups, the FSB is concerned that directors of small companies, who pay themselves in dividends rather than drawing a salary, are not receiving any help from the gove...

Jan 08, 2021 - Renters: Eviction ban in England extended for six weeks

An eviction ban in England has been extended for six weeks, following a similar move in Scotland on Thursday.

The move will mean eviction notices - which could have started again on Monday - will not be served during lockdown.

Current restrictions were due to end on Monday – 11 January, but charities have called for more financial support for tenants.

Renter support

In the last month, bailiffs have been unable to serve notices and enforce evictions in England, dubbed a Christmas truce.

Evictions were banned at the start of the first lockdown in March - and the UK government has also extended t...

Jan 08, 2021 - Travellers to the UK will need negative Covid test, government confirms

After days of promises by ministers, the government has finally announced that travellers to the UK will have to take a Covid test before departure. But it has not said when exactly the scheme will start.

While airlines and airports broadly welcomed the initiative, one travel industry figure criticised the plan as “not joined up”.

From some time next week, most international arrivals, including UK nationals, will be required to present a negative Covid-19 test taken up to 72 hours prior to departure to the UK.

The procedure will be at the passenger’s expense. It will not apply to arrivals from...

Jan 05, 2021 - New statement of changes to the Immigration Rules from 31 December 2020

A new statement of changes to the Immigration Rules was published on 31 December 2020 and took effect at 11pm that night. It is short enough that you can get a sense of what’s in it by quickly glancing over the explanatory memo, but we’ll add a few comments on the main changes.

None of the amendments appear earth-shattering. Top billing probably goes to a change to the rules for the International Agreement Worker route, a type of temporary work visa (Tier 5, in old money). Within the International Agreement route, there are further subdivisions, with visas available for:

  • private servants ...

Jan 05, 2021 - Time to revisit spouse visa minimum income rule, government advisers suggest

The infamous minimum income rule for spouse visas should be reconsidered, the influential Migration Advisory Committee has suggested. The MAC, a crack team of economists that advises the government on immigration policy, says in its annual report:

We… think now would be an opportune time to reconsider the minimum income requirements associated with this route. The MAC are concerned that previous analysis may have given too much weight to the fiscal contribution of such migrants and insufficient attention to the benefits that accrue, to both the family and society, from the route. In addition, ...