Mar 30, 2021 - IR35: April 2021 changes to off-payroll workers

HMRC have confirmed that IR35 changes will be coming into effect from 6 April 2021 which is set to affect businesses, contractors and self-employed workers alike. Worryingly, recent research highlighted many organisations are not ready for the rollout.

The private sector reform was due to take place in April last year, but was delayed because of the Covid-19 pandemic.

IR35 is another name for the off-payroll working rules. It is designed to assess whether a contractor is a genuine contractor rather than a ‘disguised’ employee, for the purposes of paying tax.

Contractors who work through their ...

Mar 30, 2021 - No British citizenship for man who allowed Pakistani nationality to lapse

Section 4B of the British Nationality Act 1981 entitles people with certain British nationality statuses to register as British citizens if they:

  • do not have any other citizenship or nationality, and
  • have not, since 19 March 2009, “renounced, voluntarily relinquished or lost through action or inaction any citizenship or nationality”.

The statuses mentioned in section 4B include British Overseas Citizens — many of whom have been embroiled in lengthy legal battles — as well as British National (Overseas) or BNO citizens.

One of those trying to invoke this provision was Hashim Tariq, wh...

Mar 29, 2021 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system as of 29 March 2021

People stuck in the UK

Some people who were in the UK when the pandemic hit were unable to leave before their permission to be here expired 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.

The first version of the coronavirus concession was introduced on 17 February 2020. It unilaterally conferred leave to remain until 31 March 20...

Mar 28, 2021 - Covid: Rapid home test kits to be available for workers

Employers in England will be able to offer free rapid coronavirus tests to staff to take at home under the extension of a government scheme.

Home kits will be offered to firms with more than 10 employees from 6 April, where on-site testing is not possible.

Businesses should register by 12 April for the lateral flow tests, which can give results in less than 30 minutes, and they are free until 30 June.

Some 60,000 firms have already signed up for workplace testing.

The hope is that asymptomatic cases can be detected quickly, helping to prevent workplace outbreaks.

The wider availability of the ...

Mar 26, 2021 - People may quit if forced to work from home, Rishi Sunak warns

The chancellor has warned bosses that staff may quit if they are not allowed to work from the office as the UK emerges from lockdown.

Rishi Sunak said that employees would "vote with their feet" and could consider leaving for a rival if made to work from home full time.

A number of companies have announced plans to close offices prompting fears for city centres.

But now the chancellor has urged firms not to abandon the office altogether.

Mr Sunak told the newspaper that home working is no substitute for an office environment with "people riffing off each other".

"You can't beat the spontaneity...

Mar 26, 2021 - Covid: February redundancy plans fall despite lockdown

British firms planned fewer job cuts last month despite many being forced to close by Covid lockdowns.

About 26,600 jobs were put at risk, one-fifth below January's figure and slightly lower than February 2020.

The numbers suggest that government support schemes have helped prevent the mass redundancies seen in the first lockdown.

The figures from the Insolvency Service were obtained by a BBC Freedom of Information request.

Employers planning 20 or more redundancies have to notify the government via the Insolvency Service by filing a form called HR1.

Because these filings happen at the start o...

Mar 26, 2021 - Let more refugees in if they’re good for the economy – report urges

The government should consider introducing visas for people both in need of humanitarian assistance and who can make an economic contribution to the UK, a new report suggests.

The Social Market Foundation argues there should be a way for migrants to enter the UK on “combined economic integration and humanitarian grounds”, rather than maintaining the rigid distinction between economic migrants and refugees.

The researchers point to a “hole” in UK immigration policy. People with both skills and humanitarian needs, but who don’t tick all the boxes for either a work visa or refugee status, end up ...

Mar 25, 2021 - When is a month not a month?

Time is definitely a relative concept, a new Upper Tribunal decision suggests, examining the issue of what constitutes a “month” for the purposes of the Immigration Rules on long residence.

The case of Chang (paragraph 276A(a)(v); 18 months?) [2021] UKUT 65 (IAC) involved an application under the ten-year lawful residence rule contained in paragraph 276B of the Rules, read in conjunction with paragraph 276A. People qualify for indefinite leave to remain under this provision after ten years’ residence in the UK, provided they’ve not been outside the country for more than 18 months cumulatively ...

Mar 24, 2021 - A first look at the “New Plan for Immigration”

The Home Office has published a new plan for immigration with the title, somehow both grandiloquent and banal, New Plan for Immigration. It is mainly concerned with asylum and people who enter the UK illegally (those two concepts being subtly mashed together) but there are also some miscellaneous proposals for tweaks to citizenship laws.

Bonus points for “safe and legal” arrivals

The word “illegal” or a derivative of it appears 74 times in the document, epitomised by the sentence “In 2019, 32,000 illegal attempts to enter the UK illegally were prevented in Northern France”. The idea is to cont...

Mar 24, 2021 - UK inflation rate falls to 0.4% in February

Sharply lower clothes prices and cheaper second-hand cars caused an unexpected fall in the UK's inflation rate in February.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said the rate fell to 0.4% last month, down from 0.7% in January.

Economists had expected inflation to rise slightly, driven by increasing fuel and energy prices.

But the impact of rising fuel costs was offset by downward pressures in other areas, including travel costs and toys.

February is traditionally a month where clothing prices would rise. But ONS deputy national statistician, Jonathan Athow said: "The impact of the pandemic...