Nov 20, 2020 - Pandemic rules for immigration appeals declared unlawful

The High Court has declared that the arrangements for dealing with Upper Tribunal immigration appeals during the coronavirus pandemic are unlawful.

Mr Justice Fordham held that the President of the Upper Tribunal’s guidance leans too heavily in favour of deciding cases on the papers rather than having a hearing, a situation that is “inconsistent with basic common law requirements”.

The tribunal must now write to everyone who lost a paper appeal since 23 March 2020 telling them to seek legal advice.

The case is Joint Council for the Welfare of Immigrants v President of the Upper Tribunal (Immig...

Nov 20, 2020 - UK national debt hits highest October level on record

Government borrowing in October hit a record level for the month as the UK continued heavy spending to support the economy during the Covid pandemic.

Borrowing makes up the shortfall between spending by the government and the amount received in taxes.

The Office for National Statistics (ONS) said borrowing, excluding state-owned banks, reached £22.3 billion last month, the highest October figure since monthly records began in 1993.

ONS said the pandemic had had a "substantial effect" on public sector borrowing.

Since the beginning of the financial year in April, government borrowing has reache...

Nov 19, 2020 - Government admits EU Settlement Scheme likely discriminates against women, disabled and other groups

The government has conceded that the EU Settlement Settlement probably discriminates against various groups protected by equality legislation but denies that it is unlawful, arguing that any discriminatory effects are justifiable.

Campaigners have long been pushing for publication of the official assessment of how the scheme caters for groups protected by the Equality Act 2010, such as women, disabled people and various minorities. Almost 4.3 million people have now applied for the right to stay in the UK after Brexit, exceeding the Home Office’s estimate of the eligible population, but concer...

Nov 19, 2020 - The UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak faces worst hit to UK finances since second world war

The Chancellor has decided to conduct a one-year Spending Review on 25 November in order to prioritise the response to Covid-19, and his focus on supporting jobs.

Reports claim the Government's forthcoming Spending Review, containing the largest downgrade in economic performance and the public finances since the second world war, will reveal the UK's economy will contract by almost 11% in 2020, the worst annual performance for more than three centuries.

The Financial Times said, based on previous Office for Budget Responsibility and Bank of England statements, the Chancellor Rishi Sunak is lik...

Nov 18, 2020 - No procedural unfairness in refusing work visa where sponsor doesn’t engage

In the recent case of Topadar v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2020] EWCA Civ 1525 the Court of Appeal considers two questions:

  1. At what point is an immigration application decided by the Home Office?
  2. Is it procedurally unfair for the Home Office to refuse an application due to the applicant’s sponsor (i.e. their employer) failing to provide additional information (without the applicant ever being made aware of the request)? 

The answers:

  1. When a decision is issued – an administrative review of that decision is not an extension of the decision-making process;
  2. No –

Nov 11, 2020 - Proposed changes to the capital gains tax

On Wednesday, 11 November the government-run office presented its review on the capital gains tax (CGT) reform as one of the ways of covering the increasing costs of COVID-19.

Typically, CGT is levied on the profits (gain) from selling or disposing of the owned assets, for example second homes or shares.

According to the report commissioned by the Chancellor, the proposed changes will allow the Government to raise nearly £14bn through reconsidering the CGT rates and reliefs.   

In more details, the main recommendation of the tax report is to align the CGT rates with the income tax rates, namel...

Nov 11, 2020 - The Immigration Act 2020

The Immigration Act 2020 has arrived. The new legislation — the full title of which is the Immigration and Social Security Co-ordination (EU Withdrawal) Act 2020 — passed into law today, 11 November 2020.

The Act is much shorter than any of the other Immigration Acts but makes wide-ranging changes to how EU citizens will be treated by immigration law. The government’s stated intention was to pass an Act ending free movement by repealing the domestic legislation which gives effect to EU law immigration rights, paving the way for its new Points-Based Immigration System. The Act also addresses th...

Nov 10, 2020 - Changes to Student and Short-term Student routes from 1 December 2020

The Immigration Rules covering student visas were substantially revised in early September 2020, with the changes coming into force on 5 October.

There are four of these “minor corrections”:

  1. Maintenance levels are being increased from £1,265 to £1,334 per month inside London and from £1,015 to £1,023 for courses outside London. One positive change is that applicants can now rely on electronic bank statements without the need to grovel to the cashier to stamp every page (though weirdly this new relaxation doesn’t apply throughout the Rules, e.g. in Appendix FM applications).
  2. If student...

Nov 09, 2020 - Online Right to Rent checks launch later this month

Right to Rent checks can be carried out online and in real time from 25 November 2020 onwards. Under the new scheme, landlords will be able to conduct checks on whether prospective tenants are permitted to rent using a Home Office webpage (not yet live).

For now, the online checking service will only be available for EEA nationals and their family members who have been granted status under the EU Settlement Scheme; non-EEA nationals with a biometric residence permit, and Points Based System migrants. For anyone else, documents will still need to be checked manually or by putting in a request t...

Nov 05, 2020 - Revised furlough scheme and self-employed package

The Government has developed new financial support package for businesses in response to the nationwide restrictions announced by the Prime minister on October 31, 2020 which are aimed to reduce spread of COVID-19.

In particular, Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (CJRS) more known as furlough scheme is extended up to the end of March 2021 and will be available across the country. The five-month package will subsidise 80% of standard salaries of the eligible employees limited to £2,500 per month. It should be noted that the Government has also allowed to re-hire the employees who were redundant ...