Jan 03, 2021 - The problem with “simplifying” the UK immigration law

Immigration law is complicated. There has, over the last couple of years, been a concerted effort to simplify it. This is a good thing. But has it been successful?

Immigration law can be complicated in two ways:

  1. Legal complexity – the legal provisions are difficult to understand
  2. Procedural complexity – the application process is unduly expensive, cumbersome, inflexible, misleading, and/or bureaucratic

We have two different systems of immigration law:

  1. One for EU nationals and their family members who entered the UK before 31 December 2020 – the EU Settlement Scheme
  2. Another on...

Dec 24, 2020 - UK and EU agree Brexit trade deal

A historic deal on the UK’s future trading and security relationship with the European Union has been struck today (24 December) on Christmas Eve, a week before the end of the Brexit transition period.

As the country leaves the single market and customs union on 31 December, new arrangements allowing for tariff-free trade in goods and close police and judicial cooperation will come into force.

The announcement followed a final call between Boris Johnson in Downing Street and the European commission president, Ursula von der Leyen, in her Berlaymont headquarters in Brussels – at least the fifth...

Dec 23, 2020 - How new visa rules on invalidity will create more overstayers

The Home Office recently introduced a set of new validity requirements for visa applications under the Points Based Immigration System, such as the Skilled Worker route. This is significant because an invalid application doesn’t extend your permission to be in the UK while it is being considered (what’s called “section 3C leave”). So if you dutifully apply to extend your visa just before it expires, and the application is later rejected as invalid because you failed to meet a validity requirement, it will be like you never made an application. You’re now an overstayer.

Invalidity can be worse ...

Dec 22, 2020 - Court of Appeal confirms no consultation duty for NHS advance charges

In R (MP) v Secretary of State for Health And Social Care [2020] EWCA Civ 1634, the Court of Appeal upheld the High Court’s decision that there was no need for the government to consult the public before introducing advance charging of overseas visitors for NHS treatment. The High Court had also rejected the argument that the regulations breached the Public Sector Equality Duty and that allegation was not renewed before the Court of Appeal.

The result is not surprising given the general reluctance of the Court of Appeal to interfere with the operationof the government. Even if the claim had su...

Dec 18, 2020 - Court of Appeal bombshell: EU citizens with pre-settled status can claim benefits

The Court of Appeal has handed down a ruling that should, if not successfully appealed, make it easier for millions of EU citizens with pre-settled status to claim benefits. The case is Fratila and Tanase v Secretary of State for Work and Pensions [2020] EWCA Civ 1741.

Ms Fratila and Mr Tanase argued that this was unlawful discrimination against them on the ground of nationality, contrary to EU law. In their favour was a line of decisions from the Court of Justice of the European Union on discrimination in benefits laws, including C-181/19 Jobcenter Krefeld v JD. That case was handed down so r...

Dec 18, 2020 - How do Covid-related absences from the UK affect EU settled status?

On 15 December 2020 the Home Office published a short guidance document covering absences from the UK connected to COVID-19. It applies to EEA citizens and their family members who have settled or pre-settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme, or those who are eligible but haven’t applied yet.

The guidance is important because many EU citizens have been forced to leave the UK for an extended period in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. This doesn’t really matter to anyone who has settled status (or qualifies for it): as they have already completed their five-year “continuous qualifying per...

Dec 17, 2020 - Future of economy “unusually uncertain”, warns Bank of England

The future of the UK's economy is “unusually uncertain”, the Bank of England has said, as it held interest rates at record lows.

It said new coronavirus vaccines boded well for long-term growth, but that a recent jump in cases would drag on the recovery of the economy.

Uncertainty over the future UK-EU trading relationship also clouded the outlook, it added.

The central bank held rates 0.1% and left its stimulus programme unchanged.

At 0.3% in November, inflation remains a long way below the central bank's 2% target.

However, it said it was ready to accept inflation above 2% if a no-deal Brexi...

Dec 17, 2020 - Government extends Furlough scheme to April

The Furlough scheme has been extended until the end of April 2021 with the government continuing to contribute 80% towards wages – giving businesses and employees across the UK certainty into the New Year, the Chancellor announced today.

Rishi Sunak also confirmed he would be extending the government-guaranteed Covid-19 business loan schemes until the end of March.

These changes come ahead of the Budget, which the Chancellor has confirmed will take place on 3 March 2021. This will deliver the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs, so the extensions to the business loan an...

Dec 17, 2020 - Next Budget set for March 2021

The UK Chancellor Rishi Sunak has confirmed that the next Budget will be held on 3 March 2021.He said it would "set out the next phase of the plan to tackle the virus and protect jobs".

A budget had been expected to take place in Autumn, but this was scrapped due to the coronavirus pandemic.

Mr Sunak also announced that the Furlough scheme, which subsidises the wages of workers hit by the virus, will be extended from March to April 2021.

Governments usually use the Budget to outline the state of the country's finances and propose tax changes. The budget will come at a difficult time for the UK...

Dec 11, 2020 - What is an “Australia-style” Brexit trade deal?

Time for negotiations between the UK and the European Union (EU) to produce a trade agreement is fast running out - bringing the possibility of no deal back onto the agenda.

If there's no agreement by the end of the year, the UK would automatically fall back on the rules of the World Trade Organization (WTO).

The government refers to this no-deal outcome as an "Australia-style deal" (Australia trades with the EU largely on WTO rules).

On Thursday, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said, "There is now a strong possibility that we will have a solution that is more like an Australian relationship with...