Jun 28, 2020 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 29 June 2020)

If you are in the UK and your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020

If you are applying to stay in the UK long-term

You can apply from the UK to switch to a long-term UK visa until 31 July 2020 if your leave expires between 24 January 2020 and 31 July 2020. This includes applications where you would usually need to apply for a visa from your home country.

You can also apply from the UK if your leave expires after 31 July 2020 but you urgently need to make a new application, for example to start a new job or course of study, and cannot leave the UK to make an application from o...

Jun 25, 2020 - Coronavirus: delays to overseas VAT claims

In its latest Revenue and Customs Brief, HMRC informs businesses established outside the EU of delays in processing and refunding VAT claims submitted under the Overseas Refund Scheme for the year 1 July 2018 to 30 June 2019. Such claims have been submitted on or before 31 December 2019.

HMRC confirms that the impact of coronavirus and changes HMRC has made to its operations, mean it is unable to meet its deadline of 30 June 2020 for some of these 2018–19 claims. It does, however, expect to make repayments by 30 September 2020.

HMRC also acknowledged that some overseas businesses or their advi...

Jun 23, 2020 - Coronavirus: New advice for businesses in England on how to reopen safely.

Today (24 June) updated guidance has been published on how hairdressers, hotels, pubs and other businesses in England can reopen safely from 4 July.

It includes some general advice for all businesses as well as guidance for specific sectors, including advice to reconfigure seating, minimise self-service, cancel live acts and stagger arrivals.

It comes after Boris Johnson announced sweeping changes to England's lockdown, including a relaxing of the 2m rule.

This means people should stay at least 2m (6ft) apart where possible, but otherwise should remain at least 1m apart while taking steps to r...

Jun 22, 2020 - CJEU: permanent residence card exempts family member from visa requirements

In the case of C‑754/18 Ryanair the Court of Justice of the European Union has concluded that a non-EU national who holds a permanent residence card from one EU state, is under EU law, exempt from any domestic law requirement to hold a visa to enter another EU state. The judgment effectively overrules the Court of Appeal judgment in Ryanair v Secretary of State for the Home Department [2018] EWCA Civ 899.

The CJEU reaches this conclusion despite there being no express provision to this effect in Directive 2004/38: only a residence card is specifically mentioned. This was no barrier to the CJEU...

Jun 22, 2020 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 23 June 2020)

Student Visas

For short-term students:

  • In-country switching: into Tier 4 from short-term routes “will be allowed on an exceptional basis” until at least 31 July 2020.
  • Permitted study: “Short-term students who have been given an exceptional extension of leave in this category as a result of Covid-19 will be permitted to study on a further course other than that which they originally entered the UK to undertake”.
  • Extending short-term study leave: not catered for, would need to be an application for leave outside the Rules.

Visa centres overseas

All UK visa application centres overs...

Jun 21, 2020 - HMRC again decided not to share tax data with Russia

Russia has been excluded again from the list of jurisdictions with which the UK tax authorities (HMRC) exchanges the tax information about assets of Russian citizens, automatically for 2019 year.

At the same time, Brunei Darussalam, Ecuador, Kazakhstan and Kuwait were added to the list of countries for mutual automatic exchange of information with the UK, and Albania, Oman and Peru were excluded from the list.

In response, Russian tax authorities also decided not to share CRS (Common Reporting Standard) tax data with the UK in automatic mode in 2020.

At the same time, Panama, Israel, Dominica,...

Jun 18, 2020 - UK debt now larger than size of whole economy

The UK's debt is now worth more than its economy after the government borrowed a record amount in May.

The £55.2bn figure was nine times higher than in May last year and the highest since records began in 1993.

The borrowing splurge sent total government debt surging to £1.95trn, exceeding the size of the UK economy for the first time in more than 50 years as borrowing surged to pay for coronavirus mitigation measures, official data published on Friday (19 June) showed.

Chancellor Rishi Sunak said the figures confirmed the severe impact the virus was having on public finances.

"The best way to...

Jun 18, 2020 - Businesses risk penalty if they forget to reinstate VAT direct debit

The Association of Taxation Technicians (ATT) is reminding businesses which have cancelled their direct debit in order to defer VAT payments, to set up a new one soon. Failure to get a direct debit set up in time could result in the business paying their VAT bill late - and ultimately result in a penalty charge.

As part of the Government’s package of COVID-19 support, all UK VAT registered businesses have been able to defer VAT payments due between 20 March and 30 June 2020 until 31 March 2021 at the latest.

Those businesses that usually pay their VAT by direct debits were required to cancel t...

Jun 17, 2020 - Mastercard and Visa face billion-pound payouts to retailers after top court case in the UK

Retailers including Asda and Argos are in line for potential billion-pound payouts after the UK’s highest court ruled that transaction fees charged by Visa and Mastercard breached competition laws.

The UK's top judges ruled in favour of retailers including J Sainsbury Plc in a blow to credit-card companies that could now face billions of pounds in damages.

The Supreme Court dismissed an appeal by Visa Inc. and Mastercard Inc., ruling that fees the companies were charging shops restrict competition.

The long-running litigation now allows Sainsbury as well as other supermarkets including Wal-Mar...

Jun 17, 2020 - Coronavirus: Bank pumps £100bn into UK economy to aid recovery

The Bank of England increased its bond-buying programme by a further 100 billion pounds on Thursday (18 June) to help steer the economy away from its record coronavirus slump, but sharply slowed the pace of its purchases.

Bank policymakers voted 8-1 to increase the size of its bond-buying programme.

However, they said there was growing evidence that the hit to the economy would be "less severe" than initially feared.

The Bank's Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) also kept interest rates at a record low of 0.1%.

The UK economy shrank by 20.4% in April, while official jobs data showed the number of...