Jun 11, 2020 - Britain's GDP falls 20.4% in April as economy is paralysed by lockdown.

Britain’s economy shrank by a record 20.4% in April as the first full month of the coronavirus lockdown triggered an economic crash three times greater than the 2008 financial crisis.

Revealing the scale of the downturn, the official figures for gross domestic product (GDP) from the Office for National Statistics showed no area of the economy was left unscathed as the government imposed tight controls on business and social life to limit the spread of the disease.

The decline was the largest since comparable monthly records began in 1997 and was more than triple the previous record fall of 5.8...

Jun 11, 2020 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 12 June 2020)

Immigration tribunal hearings

 First-tier Tribunal

Back on 21 March, President of the First-tier Tribunal (Immigration & Asylum Chamber) Michael Clements wrote to the Immigration Law Practitioners’ Association to say that hearings are to go remote:

From Wednesday, 25th March onwards, there will be no face to face hearings listed in any centre. Applications for bail and emergency work will continue to be given priority but, save in exceptional circumstance, applications and hearings will be conducted remotely.

The President also issued Practice Statement Note No 1 2020: Arrangements during the ...

Jun 08, 2020 - UK households face £6bn debts because of Covid-19, says charity/ Almost £38 million support package for debt advice providers helping people affected by Coronavirus.

British households are expected to rack up debts worth a combined £6bn because of the coronavirus crisis, as millions of people fall behind on credit card payments, council tax and utility bills.

Sounding the alarm as the economic fallout from the health emergency mounts, the StepChange debt advice charity said 4.6m households risked building up dangerous levels of debt because of the pandemic.

The charity warned that debts racked up during the crisis would stifle the country’s economic recovery and that debt advisory services would be deluged once the reality of people’s situations began to h...

Jun 08, 2020 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 09 June 2020)

If you are applying to enter the UK or remain on the basis of family or private life

There are temporary concessions in place if you’re unable to meet the requirements of the family Immigration Rules to enter or remain in the UK due to coronavirus.

If you are unable to travel back to the UK due to coronavirus travel restrictions and your leave has expired, a short break in continuous residence will be overlooked. You are expected to make your next application as soon as possible.

Fiancés, fiancées or proposed civil partners

If you’re here with 6 months’ leave as a fiancé, fiancée or proposed c...

Jun 07, 2020 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 08 June 2020)

Immigration status of NHS workers

The Home Office guidance page was updated on 8 June 2020 to add some details about family members. It clarifies that family members of NHS workers who already have indefinite leave to remain cannot avail of this scheme. There is also a section saying that people who have already applied for an extension can withdraw it and get a refund, relying on the free one-year extension instead, although not if they’ve got as far as submitting their fingerprints and photo.

Jun 03, 2020 - No European Convention on Human Rights jurisdiction over humanitarian visa refusal

The European Court of Human Rights has declined an invitation to extend the jurisdiction of the Convention to cover applications made for a visa to enter a given country and claim asylum.

In M.N. and Others v. Belgium (application no. 3599/18), the Strasbourg court ruled that an application brought by a Syrian family living in Lebanon, who had been refused humanitarian visas by the Belgian government, was inadmissible. Therefore the court could not consider their claim that the refusal violated Article 3 ECHR.

This is an important case; the United Kingdom was not even a party but still sent a ...

Jun 03, 2020 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 04 June 2020)

Compulsory quarantine

International travellers arriving in the UK on or after 8 June 2020 are being told to go into quarantine for two weeks:

To limit the spread of infection, arrivals must self-isolate for 14 days.

There is a separate list of exceptions, including for arrivals from within the Common Travel Area covering the UK, Ireland, the Isle of Man and the Channel Islands. This is so long as the person hasn’t arrived in the Common Travel area within the past two weeks and then travelled on to the UK. If, say, someone travels from the Netherlands to Ireland on 10 June and then on to the UK...

Jun 02, 2020 - UK coronavirus loans top £31bn but just half of the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS) applications approved

The government published new statistics that show 745,388 businesses across the UK have to date benefitted from over £31 billion in loans and guarantees to support their cashflow during the crisis through schemes delivered by the British Business Bank as at 31 May.

This includes 699,354 Bounce Back Loans worth £21.29 billion, 45,843 loans worth over £8.9 billion through the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme and £1.1 billion through the Coronavirus Large Business Interruption Loan Scheme.

But many firms that are too big for bounce-back loans report that they are struggling to get th...

Jun 01, 2020 - Rishi Sunak considers national insurance holidays for firms as part of coronavirus recovery package.

The UK Chancellor's focus is on measures to stem the expected spike in unemployment and boost economic growth.

Rishi Sunak is considering national insurance holidays for companies as part of a coronavirus stimulus package that will be announced in July, The Daily Telegraph newspaper reported late on 01 June.

Tax rate increases, including raising income tax and VAT, that have been under consideration are likely to be delayed until economic growth recovers, citing sources close to the discussions.

The report adds that Sunak's focus is on stemming unemployment with options being considered includ...

May 28, 2020 - Home Office softens no recourse to public funds policy following High Court defeat

Revised Home Office guidance should make it easier for migrants with family visas to claim benefits if necessary. The change follows a recent High Court decision along with the wider context of no recourse to public funds (NRPF).

As of today, the updated policy includes the following new paragraph:

The position in Appendix FM

Paragraph GEN.1.11A provides the basis in the Immigration Rules for exceptions to the wider policy on migrants not having recourse to public funds. In all cases where an applicant has been granted leave, or is seeking leave, under the family or private life routes the NRP...