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News & Updates

Home Office does not know how many people are in UK illegally, National Audit Office report finds

An estimate of the number of illegal immigrants in the UK has not been produced for 15 years, the National Audit Office says.

An up-to-date estimate of the number of illegal immigrants in the United Kingdom has not been produced for 15 years, according to a report.

The National Audit Office (NAO) said the last estimate in 2005 suggested there were around 430,000 people in the country with no right to remain.

 

But independent research since has put the figure at more than one million, Whitehall's spending watchdog said.

Priti Patel says over eight million people are economically inactive           February: Priti Patel on immigration overhaul

The NAO's report into the Home Office's immigration enforcement directorate said the department had estimated demand for immigration enforcement activity.

This was put at between 240,000 and 320,000 cases a year.

 

But the report said there was no baseline given against which progress can be measured or to demonstrate whether demand is rising or falling.

The watchdog concluded that despite collecting information around its mission and objectives, the Home Office often cannot demonstrate whether its measures are working.

source: https://news.sky.com/story/home-office-does-not-know-how-many-people-are-in-uk-illegally-national-audit-office-report-finds-12008373

Coronavirus Q&A: Family law

Common questions answered around family and children’s law during the Covid-19 outbreak

Q. How is the outbreak affecting domestic abuse victims and their ability to access the help they need?

A. The Covid-19 lockdown has had a devastating effect on domestic abuse victims and their ability to seek help.

 

Refuge has reported a 25% increase in calls to the national domestic abuse helpline. A high number of deaths have also been reported and it is likely this will increase as isolation measures continue.

 

The government’s ‘You Are Not Alone’ campaign – to raise public awareness of domestic abuse and signpost resources – and investment in domestic abuse helplines is welcome but there is still much more to be done.

 

It is encouraging to see government guidance for emergency injunctions – which stop abusers harming or threatening victims – now acknowledges that victims may not be able to get time and space away from their abuser to fill in an application, provide a witness statements and attend a telephone hearing.

 

However, strict legal aid criteria leave many victims navigating the process unrepresented. Making non-means tested legal aid available for domestic abuse cases would allow all victims access to legal support.

 

The government should further relax the usual ’gateway’ evidence requirements during the pandemic so that solicitors – as well as doctors and other professionals – can certify an individual has experienced domestic abuse, allowing them access to legal aid. Doctors and other frontline professionals are simply too busy to provide evidence at this time.

 

The Covid-19 lockdown is an incredibly dangerous time for domestic abuse victims and now more than ever, they must be able to access the help and support they need.

 

Every effort must be made to put the necessary funding into refuges and accommodation – giving victims and their children a space they can feel safe in during this pandemic.

 

The national domestic abuse helpline number is 0808 2000 247.

 

Q. If I have a shared custody agreement, can I still take my child to see their other parent?

A. Yes, the government has announced that children under 18 who have separated parents are free to go between households.

 

However, this becomes more complicated if the child has to go into isolation because they or someone in their home are displaying Covid-19 symptoms, or if one parent is in an ‘at risk’ category.

 

Family Courts still encourage parents with contact orders to stick to those orders as far as they can, including by finding creative alternatives. For example, using FaceTime or other forms of remote contact if face-to-face interactions are not possible.

 

In all circumstances, parents should consider the welfare interests of their child and work together to find the best solution in line with the government’s isolation guidelines.

 

Q. How will the Covid-19 pandemic affect those going through the divorce process?

A. Divorces can still be issued online in the usual way. They can - in principle - proceed online all the way to decree absolute and if the couple has no children or money issues (not forgetting property and pensions) this may suit them very well; divorce itself is an administrative process, after all.

 

If the separating couple needs to ask the court to consider any aspect of their divorce, they could encounter delay. Courts are currently having to prioritise their work and some categories are deemed ‘essential’ while others are not. If the court can deal with a case it is likely to do so remotely – as long as this will not prejudice a fair hearing.

 

Divorce and separation are stressful processes and being forced by public health restrictions to live together with your soon-to-be ‘ex’ may not be easy. If separating couples need advice on any aspect of their relationship breakdown, they should contact a solicitor. Most solicitors firms are providing a full range of legal services, albeit remotely for now.

 

 

Q. How is the Covid-19 lockdown affecting children’s care proceedings?

A. The protection of vulnerable children is a continuing, critical concern for professionals working in the field. Local authorities have adopted protocols to protect the health of their staff as well as the families they work with – allowing social workers’ visits and checks to continue as safely as they can.

 

The ‘lockdown’ undoubtedly places extra pressures on families already under strain. Schools stayed open for children who are under child protection, but only a minority of eligible children have been turning up. This means that, worryingly, an important layer of safeguarding for these children has been removed.

 

In short, local authorities remain busy with all aspects of child protection work, including public law proceedings, which are still going ahead via remote hearings.

 

As a necessary alternative during the pandemic, this can be a little unsatisfactory: parents often need extra help with the court process and with everyone ‘dialling in’ separately from their own home or laptop, this might not be available.

 

If someone’s child is being removed from their care, or even adopted, they may feel understandably let down if they cannot participate to their fullest within the court process. The family courts are alive to these problems and research is underway which should quickly lead to clear guidance about which cases may be conducted remotely, and which cannot.

 

For other types of events, such as Public Law Outline (PLO) meetings, local authorities and solicitors continue to work together to make it possible for parents to participate, with support.

 

Where a parent should be having contact with their child in care, and face-to-face contact is impossible because of Covid-19, social workers will work with parents and carers to find alternatives, such as Zoom or WhatsApp.

 

All those who work in this area understand that, for a parent, this type of case is one the hardest things they’ll ever have encountered, as the stakes could not be higher.

 

If you are the parent of a child subject to the PLO process or a court application brought by a local authority, you are automatically entitled to legal aid. Contact a solicitor on the Law Society’s children’s panel to access expert legal help.

 

source: https://www.lawgazette.co.uk/practice-points/coronavirus-qanda-family-law/5104009.article

 

Wills & Lasting Powers of Attorney

 

WILLS

We can draft a will which allows you to set out exactly how you would like your assets distributed in the event of your death. This ensures that your wishes are adhered to when you pass on

 

LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY

A lasting power of attorney (LPA) is a legal document that lets you (the ‘donor’) appoint one or more people (known as ‘attorneys’) to help you make decisions or to make decisions on your behalf. This gives you more control over what happens to you if you have an accident or an illness and cannot make your own decisions (you ‘lack mental capacity’). There are two different powers – one for health and one for finance /property

 

Here at Saifee Solicitors, we can help you prepare any type of will or power of attorney. Please contact Husein on 07539 456 528 or 07908 414 420

#Solicitors #Leicester #Hounslow #Immigration #Wills&Probate #LegalAdvice #FamilyLaw #PropertyLaw #Matrimonial #SaifeeSolicitors

Coronavirus: Renters threatened with eviction 'should stay put'

People living in rented accommodation in England and Wales who have received an eviction notice have been urged not to move out.

The government announced a three month ban on evictions as part of emergency coronavirus legislation.

But the ban only covered new eviction proceedings, not people already in the court system.

Last week, ministers caved in to pressure from Labour and charities and announced a complete ban on evictions.

The courts in England and Wales have been instructed to "suspend all ongoing housing possession action", the government said in a statement.

The suspension "will initially last for 90 days, but this can be extended if needed", the statement added, with all private and social renters, as well those with mortgages, to be protected.

'Good news'

The move is thought likely to affect about 20,000 people who had been facing repossession.

In Scotland, MSPs are planning introduce a temporary ban on evictions in their emergency coronavirus legislation, but it will only covers new evictions, not people already facing court proceedings.

Housing charity Shelter fears some people in England and Wales, who might not be aware of their rights, are still being forced out of their homes by their landlords.

Shelter chief executive Polly Neate said: "The government's blanket ban on evictions is good news for millions of renters who can now safely remain in their homes.

"It's crucial people know they're protected and that no legal action can be taken to evict them for at least the next three months.

"Even if they receive an eviction notice from their landlord in the coming weeks they should not feel any pressure to leave until this crisis is over, and should stay where they are."

The charity's advice for private rented, council or housing association tenants is:

  • It is illegal if your landlord makes you leave without notice or a court order - or locks you out of your home, even temporarily
  • If you have had an eviction notice from your landlord you should stay in your home
  • In most cases, if an eviction notice is issued between 27 March and 30 September, the landlord must wait three months before they can apply to court
  • If your landlord has already applied to court then your case will be put off for 90 days
  • The court will tell you when any new hearing is but this may take some time

The government is advising people to continue paying their rent - and for those struggling financially to speak to their landlords about setting up a payment plan or to seek help through the benefit system.

Big arrears

It says lenders will support struggling landlords, and those with buy-to-let mortgages will be entitled to a three month payment holiday.

But campaign group the London Renters Union is calling on the government to suspend all rent payments - and to protect people from having to pay big arrears when the crisis has eased.

The group says thousands of people are continuing to have to go to work because of pressure from landlords, meaning they are unable to follow the government's social distancing guidelines.

In a letter to Housing Secretary Robert Jenrick, the group said: "Urging landlords to 'show compassion' does nothing in reality to protect renters. The government has left renters to fend for themselves.

"As the government's recent guidance clearly states, tenants are still legally obliged to pay rent and landlords are still able to issue eviction notices to renters who enter into rent debt.

"The eviction process will begin as soon as the temporary ban on evictions is lifted."

The Ministry of Housing, Communities and Local Government has been contacted for a response.

'More help needed'

The government is temporarily making the housing benefit system more generous to help people struggling to meet rent payments, by increasing it to cover 30% of the market average rent in each area.

Image copyright Shelter Image caption Polly Neate: Make help available from day one

The move was welcomed by Shelter, but the charity is urging the government to go further and increase the Local Housing Allowance - the housing component of Universal Credit for private renters - to more of local market rates, and to end the five-week wait for new claimants.

The charity says there has been a surge in people applying for benefits, in many cases for the first time.

Ms Neate said: "At Shelter we're receiving daily calls from people up and down the country who are worried about how they'll pay the rent, keep the lights on and put food in the fridge in the coming weeks and months.

"That's why we're urging the government to go even further on its welfare measures to help people through the financial shock created by this pandemic.

"To prevent households slipping into poverty and debt, the government should temporarily increase housing benefit so that it covers the average cost of local rents.

"And to make sure help is available from day one it must end the five-week wait for universal credit, by turning advance payments into a grant instead of a loan."

source:  https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-52108344?at_custom1=%5Bpost+type%5D&at_custom2=twitter&at_custom3=%40BBCPolitics&at_campaign=64&at_custom4=twitter&at_medium=custom7#

 

Coronavirus: People urged not to move house

The government has urged people not to move house to try to limit the spread of coronavirus across the UK.

Buyers and renters should delay moving while emergency stay-at-home measures are in place, it said.

Its comments come amid reports banks are pressing for a full suspension of the UK housing market.

Lenders are concerned about the effect of the pandemic on valuations, according to the Financial Times.

Banks are also worried about granting mortgages during this period of extreme economic uncertainty, the FT said.

The government said that while there "is no need to pull out of transactions", "we all need to ensure we are following guidance to stay at home and away from others at all times".

If a property is vacant, people can continue with the transaction, although they must ensure they are following guidelines with regards to home removals.

But if the house is occupied "we encourage all parties to do all they can to amicably agree alternative dates to move".

Property listings websites say that interest in moving home has slumped amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Zoopla said demand in the week to 22 March fell 40% from the week before and it predicts housing transactions will drop by up to 60% over the next three months.

Meanwhile, an increasing number of sales that had been agreed before the lockdown are falling through.

The property listings site said the UK housing market had a strong start to the year before the coronavirus outbreak crushed demand.

The pandemic has led to a "rapidly increasing" proportion of sales falling through, as would-be buyers "reassess whether to make a big financial decision in these shifting times".

Rival Rightmove also said the slowdown in the UK housing market had been "significant".

"The number of property transactions failing to complete in recent days and likely changes in tenant behaviour following the announcement of the renters' protections by the government may put further pressure on estate and lettings agents," it said, referring to the recent ban on evictions.

In response to the crisis, UK Finance, which was formerly known as the British Bankers' Association, said lenders would extend mortgage offers for people who were due to move house during the lockdown.

"Current social distancing measures mean many house moves will need to be delayed," UK Finance chief executive Stephen Jones.

"Where people have already exchanged contracts for house purchases and set dates for completion this is likely to be particularly stressful," he said.

"To support these customers at this time, all mortgage lenders are working to find ways to enable customers who have exchanged contracts to extend their mortgage offer for up to three months to enable them to move at a later date."

source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-52051174#

Housing advice: coronavirus (COVID-19)

See GOV.UK for the government response to the coronavirus outbreak.

See the NHS website for health advice. 

Information on this page

The page is updated regularly. Last update 20 Mar 2020


Eviction

Can my landlord evict me straight away because of coronavirus?

It's illegal for your landlord to evict you without following the proper steps.

Illegal eviction is a criminal offence - coronavirus doesn't change this.

It's likely to be an illegal eviction if your landlord:

  • makes you leave without notice or a court order
  • locks you out of your home, even temporarily

You can get help from the council or the court if your landlord prevents you accessing your home.

What if I'm a lodger?

Your landlord still needs to follow the correct process even if you live with them.

They don't need to go to court but you're usually entitled to notice before you can be made to leave.

What if I've had notice from my landlord?

You should stay in your home.

Evictions take time and you don’t have to leave at the end of your notice under current law.

The government have also announced a new law that is expected to come in very soon.

Landlords won’t be able to take you to court for eviction for at least 3 months.

What if my landlord has already applied to court?

It isn't clear whether evictions will still go ahead if your landlord has already applied to court.

Courts are staying open for the moment in line with government guidance.

If you have a hearing you can expect it to go ahead unless your county court tells you of a change.

The court may arrange a phone or video hearing.

If you are self isolating, then you should not attend. Contact your court to let them know of your situation.

 

Rent payment problems

I'm worried about rent arrears. What should I do?

Speak to your landlord if you're struggling to pay rent. 

They could be sympathetic especially if you've lost your job or seen your income reduce suddenly.  

They might agree to a rent reduction or to accept rent late. Get any agreement in writing.

Buy to let landlords may get mortgage payment holidays if their tenants have financial problems due to coronavirus.  

Find out more about how to deal with rent arrears.

 

Mortgage arrears and repossession

I'm worried about mortgage arrears. What should I do?

Mortgage lenders have announced they won't apply to court to repossess homeowners for 3 months starting from 19 March.

They will also allow a 3 month payment holiday for those struggling to cover their mortgage because of coronavirus.

Be aware that this option may mean your monthly mortgage payment goes up after the payment holiday ends.

Check if you have insurance that will cover your mortgage payments instead. For example, mortgage payment protection insurance or through your current account.

Some mortgage providers are introducing other support for customers whose income is affected by the coronavirus outbreak. These may include:

  • no fees for late payments
  • switching to a lower interest rate

Speak to your lender to find out what support they're offering.

Read our guide on how to deal with mortgage arrears.

 

Income and benefits

I need to claim benefits. Where do I start?

You could qualify for benefits or statutory sick pay if you lose your job or can't work because you're sick or self isolating.

You could also get benefits if your pay goes down because of the coronavirus outbreak.

Find out more about what you can claim on the entitledto website

Can I apply for universal credit during the coronavirus outbreak?

Use the entitledto benefits calculator to check what you can claim before you apply - there are sometimes better options.

You can apply for universal credit on GOV.UK

Contact Citizens Advice if you need help with the online process.

Call the universal credit helpline on 0800 328 5644 if you:

  • can't apply online
  • need a universal credit advance
  • can't access your universal credit account once you've set it up

You can usually get a universal credit advance within a few days if you can't wait 5 weeks for your first payment. An advance must usually be repaid over the next year.  

Jobcentres are still open at the moment.

You won't have to attend Jobcentre Plus or medical assessments for at least the next 3 months due to the outbreak.

I get some housing benefit but now I've lost my job. How can I pay my rent?

You should report the change to the housing benefit department at the council. 

Your benefit will usually increase if you report an income drop promptly.

Sometimes you might need to move on to universal credit instead.

Read our guide on dealing with housing benefit changes

Apply for a discretionary housing payment if you get either:

  • housing benefit  
  • universal credit housing element

Landlord access to your home

Can my letting agent still go ahead with visits and inspections?

Tell your agent if you don't want unnecessary visits to your home at this time.

They should agree to postpone non essential visits such as:

Tell your agent if you can't allow access because you're self isolating. You don't have to give them details of your health.

What if I need repairs or a gas safety check is due?

Landlords have the same responsibilities for repairs during the coronavirus outbreak.

You should report repairs by phone, email or online.

You must tell your landlord if you're self isolating. They might not be able to get the problem fixed during the usual timescales but shouldn't delay repairs unreasonably.

Annual gas safety checks remain an important legal requirement. Your landlord should rearrange a gas safety check if you're self isolating.

Read about access to your rented home for repairs.

 

Moving out

Can I leave my tenancy early because of coronavirus?

You can only end a fixed term tenancy early if either: 

  • your contract has a break clause
  • you negotiate an early end to the agreement with your landlord

If you want to leave as soon as possible you'll probably have to negotiate.

Your landlord may be sympathetic to your request to leave if they understand your reasons. For example, if you need to move urgently because you or a family member are sick or need support.

Read more information about:

Coronavirus (COVID-19): immigration guidance

Guidance on immigration provisions made by the Home Office for individuals affected by travel restrictions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19).

Published 17 February 2020Last updated 27 February 2020 — see all updates From:  

Contents

  1. Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa has recently expired or is about to expire
  2. Non-Chinese, non-EEA nationals in the UK normally resident in China
  3. Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa was granted by Irish authorities (British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS)
  4. Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa was granted by the Crown Dependencies
  5. Switching to a Tier 2 category in the UK
  6. Information for Chinese or third country nationals in China
  7. British nationals in China who need to apply for a passport
  8. Licensed Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 sponsors: absences due to coronavirus
  9. Additional immigration queries
  10. Coronavirus Immigration Helpline
  11. Additional resources

Due to travel restrictions because of coronavirus some individuals may be facing uncertainty in relation to the expiry date of their current visa or leave to remain in the United Kingdom. The Home Office understands that in many cases this is because of circumstances outside of your control.

Subject to the below guidance, most people in the UK whose immigration status is affected by the coronavirus outbreak will get an automatic extension of their visa until 31 March 2020.

Read the guidance below to find out if your visa will be automatically extended or if you need to contact the Home Office’s dedicated coronavirus immigration helpline to discuss your circumstances and arrange an extension.

The helpline can only speak to the visa holder or applicant about individual cases. If a third party wishes to speak on their behalf, they must have the visa holder’s permission.

Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa has recently expired or is about to expire

If you are a Chinese national in the UK and have been compliant with the conditions of your visa prior to the coronavirus outbreak, your visa will be automatically extended to 31 March 2020 if your visa has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.

You’ll also get an automatic extension if you’re in the UK on a long-term standard visitor visa that lasts 2, 5 or 10 years and you have reached the maximum stay of 180 days between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.

You don’t need to do anything to get this extension.

You will remain subject to the same immigration conditions attached to your visa during the extension period.

You will not automatically receive a new visa or Biometric Residence Permit card.

Your new expiry date (31 March 2020) will be added to UK Visas and Immigration’s systems.

If you need a status letter confirming this extension, or a new Biometric Residence Permit with a revised expiry date, you should contact the coronavirus immigration helpline.

If you have already applied to extend your visa you don’t need to do anything.

If you are intending to apply to extend your stay in the UK before 31 March 2020 you should continue to do so.

Non-Chinese, non-EEA nationals in the UK normally resident in China

If you are a non-Chinese or non-EEA national in the UK but are normally resident in China and your visa in the UK has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020 you should contact the coronavirus immigration helpline.

The team will be able to extend your visa to 31 March 2020 if you can demonstrate you are normally resident in China.

You will remain subject to the same immigration conditions attached to your visa during the extension period.

Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa was granted by Irish authorities (British Irish Visa Scheme (BIVS)

If you are a Chinese national in the UK with a visa that was granted by the Irish authorities and has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020 you should contact the coronavirus immigration helpline to discuss your circumstances.

Chinese nationals in the UK whose visa was granted by the Crown Dependencies

If you are a Chinese national in the UK with a visa that was granted by a Crown Dependency and has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020 you should contact the coronavirus immigration helpline to discuss your circumstances.

Switching to a Tier 2 category in the UK

If you are a Chinese national in the UK on a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer visa and want to switch to a Tier 2 General visa you normally need to return to China to make your application.

You can exceptionally apply to switch from a Tier 2 Intra-Company Transfer to a Tier 2 General visa from within the UK if your visa has an expiry date between 24 January 2020 and 30 March 2020.

You will still need to pay the relevant fee and meet all the requirements of a Tier 2 General visa, other than the requirement that you usually have to apply in China.

Information for Chinese or third country nationals in China

UK Visa Application Centres in China are currently closed.

The Home Office continues to monitor the situation and updates on when the VACs will re-open will be available on VFS’s website.

Bookings for Secure English Language Testing (SELT)

Access to approved Secure English Language Testing (SELT) facilities across China is also currently restricted in line with national requirements, and tests scheduled for March 2020 have been cancelled.

These dates are being kept under review as the situation develops.

Test takers who have already taken their test will receive their Test Report Form (TRF) by mail.

For all the latest information, please visit the International English Language Testing System (IELTS)’s website, or contact your test centre directly by email.

Chinese or third country nationals whose passport is at a Visa Application Centre (VAC)

UK Visa Application Centres in China are currently closed.

Where possible we will return passports currently held in VACs to customers via courier, where courier return has been requested. This will not be possible in all locations.

If your passport is currently held in a VAC, but you have not previously arranged for it to be returned by courier, please contact VFS Global directly.

The Home Office continues to monitor the situation and updates on when the VACs will re-open will be available on VFS’s website.

As soon as we are able to re-open the VACs we will prioritise the return of all documents to our customers.

British nationals in China who need to apply for a passport

Due to the closure of Visa Application Centres (VAC), it is not currently possible to apply for a British passport from China. If you urgently need to travel to the UK, you can apply for an emergency travel document.

British passports that were due for collection at a VAC have now been delivered to the British Embassy in Beijing, or the Consulates in Shanghai and Guangzhou. You will be contacted to make arrangements to collect your documents.

The Home Office is monitoring the situation, and as soon as we are able to re-open the VACs we will prioritise the return of documents to our customers.

Licensed Tier 2, Tier 4 or Tier 5 sponsors: absences due to coronavirus

Some Tier 4 students or Tier 2/5 employees may be prevented from attending their studies or employment due to illness, the need to serve a period of quarantine or the inability to travel due to travel restrictions caused by coronavirus.

Sponsors do not need to report student or employee absences related to coronavirus which they have authorised.

Sponsors do not need to withdraw sponsorship if they consider there are exceptional circumstances when:

  • a student will be unable to attend for more than 60 days
  • an employee is absent from work without pay for four weeks or more

Decisions on whether to withdraw a student from their studies or terminate an employment are for sponsors to make. The Home Office recognises the current situation is exceptional and will not take any compliance action against students or employees who are unable to attend their studies/work due to the coronavirus outbreak, or against sponsors which authorise absences and continue to sponsor students or employees despite absences for this reason.

The Home Office will keep this under review, especially if the length of absences mean a potential repeat of period of studies become necessary.

Additional immigration queries

You can also contact the coronavirus immigration helpline if you have any other immigration queries related to coronavirus, including questions about urgent, compelling, compassionate case where a Chinese national or other visa national based in China needs to travel to the UK.

If your query doesn’t relate to immigration provisions associated with coronavirus (COVID-19) please contact the general immigration helpline on 0300 123 2241.

Coronavirus Immigration Helpline

Telephone: 0800 678 1767 (Monday to Friday, 9am to 5pm)

Calls are free of charge.

Email: CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk

Due to Data Protection Regulations we can only speak to the visa holder or applicant about their specific query.

If you are a third party (for example family member or sponsor) and wish to speak on their behalf, we must have the visa holder’s permission. This can be provided by verbal consent to the coronavirus immigration helpline or written consent via email. The email to verify consent must be sent from the email address provided on the visa holder’s application to CIH@homeoffice.gov.uk to enable us to provide a response. Without consent we are unable to discuss person-specific details with a third party.

Additional resources

We will keep our guidance under regular review. You can keep up to date by reading the latest Public Health England advice which includes the latest advice for travellers.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has also produced guidance for British people travelling and living overseas following the outbreak, and you can find country-specific information on their travel advice pages for all countries you’re planning to visit or transit.

Published 17 February 2020Last updated 27 February 2020 + show all updates source:https://www.gov.uk/guidance/coronavirus-immigration-guidance-if-youre-unable-to-return-to-china-from-the-uk

#Solicitors #Leicester #Hounslow #Immigration #Wills&Probate #LegalAdvice #FamilyLaw #PropertyLaw #Matrimonial #SaifeeSolicitors

New immigration system: what you need to know

The UK is introducing a points-based immigration system from 2021.

  1. Visa application process
  2. Skilled workers
  3. Global talent scheme
  4. Low-skilled workers
  5. International students and graduates
  6. Other visa routes
  7. Visiting the UK
  8. EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020
  9. Crossing the UK border
  10. Proving immigration status in the UK

This page will be updated with the latest information about the new points-based immigration system as it becomes available.

Sign up for email alerts to get updates on the new immigration system:

On 19 February 2020, the government set out the details of the UK’s points-based immigration system. These new arrangements will take effect from 1 January 2021, once freedom of movement with the European Union (EU) has ended. It will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally and aims to attract people who can contribute to the UK’s economy. Irish citizens will continue to be able to enter and live in the UK as they do now.

Visa application process

New immigration routes will open from autumn 2020 for applications to work, live and study in the UK from 1 January 2021.

You’ll be able to apply and pay for your visa online.

When you apply, you’ll be asked to provide your biometric information. The process for this is:

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens

For most visas you’ll provide a digital photo of your face using a smartphone app. You will not have to give your fingerprints.

For a small number of minor visa routes (to be confirmed later this year) you’ll need to go to an overseas visa application centre to have your photo taken.

Non-EU citizens

You’ll continue to submit your fingerprints and a photo at an overseas visa application centre.

Skilled workers

The points-based system will include a route for skilled workers who have a job offer from an approved employer sponsor.

From January 2021, the job you’re offered will need to be at a required skill level of RQF3 or above (equivalent to A level). You’ll also need to be able to speak English. The minimum general salary threshold will be reduced to £25,600.

If you will earn less than this - but no less than £20,480 - you may still be able to apply by ‘trading’ points on specific characteristics against your salary. For example, if you have a job offer in a shortage occupation or have a PhD relevant to the job.

Details of how the points system will work are in the policy statement.

If you’re an employer planning to sponsor skilled migrants from 2021, and are not currently an approved sponsor, you should consider getting approved now.

Global talent scheme

The global talent scheme will be opened up to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. It will allow highly-skilled scientists and researchers to come to the UK without a job offer.

Low-skilled workers

There will not be an immigration route specifically for low-skilled workers.

The seasonal agricultural visa pilot scheme will be expanded - recognising the significant reliance this sector has on low-skilled temporary workers.

International students and graduates

Student visa routes will be opened up to EU, EEA and Swiss citizens. You’ll be able to apply for a visa to study in the UK if you:

  • have been offered a place on a course
  • can speak, read, write and understand English
  • have enough money to support yourself and pay for your course

A new graduate immigration route will be available to international students who have completed a degree in the UK from summer 2021. You’ll be able to work, or look for work, in the UK at any skill level for up to 2 years.

Other visa routes

Short-term work visas in specific sectors (the current ‘Tier 5’) and investor, business development and talent visas (the current ‘Tier 1’) will be opened up to EU citizens.

Visiting the UK

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to 6 months. All migrants looking to enter the UK for other reasons (such as work or study) will need to apply for a visa in advance.

EU citizens living in the UK by 31 December 2020

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen living in the UK before 31 December 2020, you and your family can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK after 30 June 2021.

Crossing the UK border

Citizens of Australia, Canada, Japan, New Zealand, the United States of America, Singapore and South Korea - with a biometric chip in their passports - will continue to be able to use ePassport gates to pass through the border on arrival. EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will also be able to use ePassport gates (this will be kept under review).

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will continue to be able to cross the UK border using a valid passport.

We may stop accepting EU, EEA and Swiss national ID cards for entry to the UK after 2020. We’ll announce further details, including the date for this change, in advance. However, if you begin living in the UK before 31 December 2020 and have status under the EU Settlement Scheme, you’ll be able to use your national identity card to enter the UK until at least 31 December 2025.

Proving immigration status in the UK

EU citizens

EU, EEA and Swiss citizens will use an online service to view their immigration status and to prove their status to others.

Employers, landlords and public service providers will continue to accept EU citizens’ passports and identity cards as evidence of their immigration status until 30 June 2021.

Guidance for employers is available on carrying out right to work checks on EU citizens and their family members in the UK.

Non-EU citizens

Non-EU citizens will continue to use a physical document to prove their immigration status.

Published 28 January 2020Last updated 19 February 2020 + show all updates   source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/new-immigration-system-what-you-need-to-know

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EU settlement scheme: Vulnerable 'struggling to apply'

The Home Office has been slow to respond to concerns that vulnerable people are struggling to access the EU settlement scheme, campaigners say.

A group representing EU citizens, the3million, claimed some people were "struggling to apply" or still do not know about the scheme.

It comes after the government's immigration watchdog criticised the Home Office's handling of the scheme.

All EU citizens who want to stay in the UK after Brexit have to apply.

A House of Commons report says 3.1 million people have done so, so far.

A separate report by David Bolt, the chief inspector of borders and immigration, praised some of the Home Office's work to help vulnerable applicants, but also raised concerns and made several recommendations for improvements.

'Hidden costs'

The immigration watchdog said: "Most of the recommendations were aimed at improving the way the scheme operates for vulnerable and hard-to-reach individuals, and applicants who are finding the process difficult."

But he said the Home Office's response had been "less positive and constructive than I had hoped".

The government department accepted all but one of the report's recommendations, which called for the system, which people do not have to pay to use, to be made "genuinely free".

It denied that applicants were subjected to "hidden costs" identified in the report, such as phone operator charges when calling the scheme's helpline and charges imposed by some councils for ID document scanning services.

It conceded some applicants may incur costs but said help and information was available by a variety of means, suggesting the costs could be avoided.

'Long delay'

David Bolt's report covers the five months to the end of August 2019, although Mr Bolt said most of the inspections were carried out between April and June.

Charity Migrant Voice said the relevancy of the report was "called into question by the long delay in its publication".

Migrant Voice director Nazek Ramadan said: "The scheme has seen a big uptick in applications in the six months since the inspection ended and existing problems are likely to have been exacerbated (and new ones generated) in that time."

It follows press reports about mistakes, including the story of a 101-year-old Italian man who has been living in the UK for more than 50 yearswho was asked to get his parents to confirm his identity, after the computer system incorrectly processed his year of birth as 2019, not 1919.

Maike Bohn, co-founder of the3million, said David Bolt's report "echoes our key concerns that not enough has been done to reach, inform and assist EU citizens through this crucial process".

"Like David Bolt we hoped for more positive and constructive responses from the Home Office," he added.

Bell Ribeiro-Addy, Labour's shadow immigration minister, said: "It is unacceptable that government departments have been less than co-operative when the status of millions of EU citizens is at issue."

A Home Office spokesman said: "We're pleased that the inspector praised the Home Office's management of the EU Settlement Scheme and recognised the wide range of support available online, by phone, and in person."

source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-51675813?intlink_from_url=https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/topics/c302m85qe1vt/uk-immigration&link_location=live-reporting-story

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Different types of UK VISAS
  • Work Visas.
  • Business Visas.
  • Study Visas.
  • Visitor Visas.
  • Family Visas.
  • Settlement Visas.
  • Transit Visas.
  •  
  • What you need to do

    Check if you need a UK visa, apply, manage your application, biometric residence permits

  •  
  • EU, EEA and Commonwealth citizens

    Settled and pre-settled status for EU citizens, EEA family permits, UK Ancestry visa

  •  
  • Visit the UK

    Visit for a holiday, business or a short stay (up to 6 months), airport transit visas

  •  
  • Study in the UK

    Short-term study visas and visas for longer courses, degrees and independent schools

  •  
  • Work in the UK

    Paid and voluntary work, entrepreneur and investor visas

  •  
  • Family in the UK

    Partner, spouse and family member visas and permits

  •  
  • Live permanently in the UK

    Ways to settle in the UK and routes to British citizenship

  •  
  • Seek protection or asylum

    Claiming asylum as a refugee, the asylum process and support

  •  
  • Immigration appeals and status problems

    Appeal against a visa, settlement or asylum decision, immigration status problems

  •  
  • Travelling to the UK

    Moving your belongings, going through customs and tax

  •  
  • https://www.gov.uk/browse/visas-immigration
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