News

Jul 21, 2020 - The Hong Kong British National (Overseas) Visa (2020)

Details about the visa scheme for British National (Overseas) citizens in Hong Kong have finally been published on 22 July 2020 in a policy statement.

The key pieces of information published today are that:

  • the new visa route will open in January 2021, 
  • British National (Overseas) citizens in the UK will be permitted to switch in-country without departing from the UK
  • British National (Overseas) citizens and their family members arriving at the UK border before January 2021 can be granted “Leave Outside the Rules” for a limited period of six months.

If a British National (Overseas...

Jul 20, 2020 - First virtual citizenship ceremony welcomed by Home Office minister

Local authorities will now be able to conduct citizenship ceremonies for individuals and households virtually.

As a result of coronavirus restrictions, group citizenship ceremonies have been suspended. However, citizenship ceremonies will now be allowed to take place via video conferencing. The move will allow applicants to complete their unique citizenship journey and become British citizens.

The first virtual citizenship ceremony has been led by Southwark Council, London, who began offering the option from 20 July 2020.

Those aged 18 or over who have successfully applied to become a British ...

Jul 20, 2020 - The Government borrowing hits record £127.9bn in the first quarter of the financial year

The UK government has been forced to borrow a record £127.9bn between April and June to combat the coronavirus pandemic, more than double the amount it did over the whole of last year.

June borrowing hit £35.5bn for the government, the Office for National Statistics (ONS) said. That was five times higher than the previous year. But it fell below a Reuters poll of economist forecasting a sum of £41.5bn after a downward revision for May.

Nevertheless, June's borrowing figure was still the third highest monthly total since records began in 1993 and about five times more than the same month last y...

Jul 19, 2020 - Seven year rule does not apply to EU children until they’ve lived in UK for seven years

In MM (section 117B(6) – EU citizen child) Iran [2020] UKUT 224 (IAC ) the Upper Tribunal holds that the seven year rule at section 117B(6) of the 2002 Act (which applies to British children and foreign national children resident for seven years) cannot be read as applying to EU children resident for less than seven years on the basis that it is contrary to the EU prohibition on discrimination between citizens of a Member State and other EU citizens.

The official headnote states as follows:

1. The definition of “qualifying child” contained in section 117D(1) of the Nationality, Immigration and...

Jul 16, 2020 - Coronavirus: PM outlines lockdown easing for England

Coronavirus restrictions will ease further in England under plans for a "significant return to normality" by Christmas, Boris Johnson has said.

The prime minister said employers would have more discretion to bring staff back to workplaces if it was safe to do so. The PM added he was "hoping for the best and planning for the worst".

"It is my strong and sincere hope that we will be able to review the outstanding restrictions and allow a more significant return to normality from November at the earliest - possibly in time for Christmas," he said.

But according to PM the plan "remains conditional...

Jul 15, 2020 - UK banks propose ‘student loans style’ scheme to help businesses and to avoid job cuts

UK banks fear up to 800,000 firms employing 3 million could go bust in the next year if they cannot defer repayments on government-backed loans.

The lending industry is proposing a student loans-type scheme, where coronavirus loans can be converted into a tax debt repayable over a decade.

Like student loans, the money would only be repayable when and if the businesses can afford it. Banks want the scheme to be administered by HM Revenue and Customs.

Banking industry lobby group TheCityUK is proposing to set up a "UK Recovery Corporation", through which companies could convert their short-term ...

Jul 14, 2020 - Coronavirus and the UK immigration system (as of 15 July 2020)

COVID-19 related automatic visa extensions

The situation is particularly pressing for people who are in the UK on an expiring visa and unable to leave because of travel restrictions. The government had been extending people’s visas through a simplified online application process, but that concession is now coming to an end.

On 22 May the Home Office extended the concession to 31 July.

However, the given concession is unlikely to be extended any further. An official announcement is expected shortly, but a senior Home Office official told MPs on 14 July:

“it is not our intention at the moment to...

Jul 14, 2020 - Health and Care Visa launches on 4 August

The new Health and Care Visa for foreign medical workers will open for applications on 4 August 2020, the government has announced.

The visa is not a new route as such, but a species of Tier 2 (General) visa — the announcement comes in a new Part A to the Tier 2 policy guidance, added on 14 July. It is also misnamed in the sense that it is only for “qualified doctors, nurses and allied health professionals who have been trained to a recognised standard” — not for care home workers. The full list of eligible professions is:

2112 – Biological scientists and biochemists
2113 – Physical Scientists...

Jul 14, 2020 - Hospitality VAT cut may not be passed on to customers

VAT (value added tax) will be cut from 20 per cent to five per cent for businesses in the hospitality and tourism industries, chancellor Rishi Sunak revealed in his mini-Budget on July 8.

A £4bn cut in VAT has come into force today (July 15) and will remain in place until January 12, 2021, allowing firms in the food, drink and hospitality sectors to slash prices.

VAT is a tax paid by businesses to HMRC on the items or services they sell. It is typically passed on to consumers in the price they pay for these goods and services.

The cuts will last for six months until January 12, 2021 with the i...

Jul 13, 2020 - UK economy rebounds more slowly than expected

The UK economy shrank by 19.1 per cent in the three months to May, according to the latest data.

The Office for National Statistics show despite the UK's economic contraction, there has been signs of recovery, as GDP grew by 1.8 per cent in May. However, despite May’s GDP growth, it was far short of the five per cent rise expected by many economists.

The increase came after a fall of 6.9% in March and a record 20.4% decline in April. In the three months to May, the economy shrank by 19.1% compared with the previous three-month period, the ONS said.

Manufacturing and house building showed signs...