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Settled status: EU citizens urged apply to stay in UK now or lose rights

EU citizens living in the UK have until Wednesday to apply to stay or lose their rights, under post-Brexit rules introduced by the government.

More than 5.6 million applications have been received, but around 400,000 cases are still waiting to be processed.

Ministers say anyone who applies on time will have their existing rights protected while their case is heard.

Labour says many vulnerable people risk losing access to public services and the deadline should be extended.

Under the terms of Britain's departure from the European Union, EU citizens and their families living and working in the UK no longer have an automatic right to do so as freedom of movement has come to an end.

Instead, they have to apply for legal permission to remain under what is known as the EU Settlement Scheme (EUSS).

People from the European Economic Area (EEA) countries of Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway, as well as Switzerland are also affected.

Once granted status, applicants can continue to use the NHS, study and access public funds and benefits, as well as travel in and out of the country.

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What is settled status?

EU nationals living in the UK have until 30 June to apply to stay in the UK.

They can apply for:

  • Settled status - on offer to anyone who can prove that they had been in the UK continuously for five years or more before 31 December 2020. As of 31 May, it has been granted to 2.75 million people.
  • Pre-settled status - on offer to anyone who had been in the UK for less than five years by the end of 2020. As of 31 May, it has been granted to 2.28 million. They can apply for settled status in future, but there is no guarantee they will get it.

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According to provisional Home Office figures to the end of May, 5,605,800 applications have been received since the scheme opened in March 2019 and 5,271,300 have been finalised.

The countries whose nationals have made the highest numbers of applications are Poland (975,000) and Romania (918,000).

Of the concluded applications, more than 2.7 million were granted settled status, allowing them permanent leave to remain in the UK.

A further 2.2 million were given pre-settled status, meaning they need to reapply after living in the country for five years to gain permanent residence.

Some 94,000 applications have been refused, 72,100 were withdrawn or void and 74,900 were deemed invalid - where the Home Office decides someone is not eligible to apply or has failed to provide sufficient proof of residence.

Concerns have been raised that thousands of people could fail to register and lose their rights as a result.

Miklos Flora, who lives in Worcester but is originally from Hungary, told Radio 4's PM programme that he has struggled with his application.

He said he applied for himself with his Hungarian ID card but then realised his wife's card had expired and he could not proceed with their application as a result.

"With my kids, the problem is they don't have any kind of ID cards so I have been advised from the Citizen's Advice they are going to send me a form that is around 39 pages that we have to fill out and then send by post," he told PM.

2px presentational grey line Analysis box by Dominic Casciani, home and legal correspondent

Come Thursday morning, most experts agree that it is highly likely there will be tens if not hundreds of thousands of EU citizens who have suddenly become illegal immigrants.

So, at its worst, the relatively straightforward scheme could become a second and larger Windrush scandal - despite it being designed to avoid a repeat of that injustice in which the Home Office failed to recognise the rights of people who had long been living legally in the country.

So who's not registered? Children could be a huge group because their parents may not realise they are not British.

There may be 130,000 in the benefits system too - and there is anecdotal evidence that even some of the well-heeled may be affected if they are unwittingly relying on an old form of permanent residence.

The impact of Brexit on all these people, and others more vulnerable, may only become clear when they go for a job or treatment on the NHS - and find they've got no right to be in the UK at all.

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Labour's Paul Blonfield, who raised the issue in the House of Commons earlier, said there are "several potential problems" not least a significant number of late applications, including from those who cannot get through on helplines.

Speaking to Radio 4, he said he has heard from people who have been holding for eight hours for advice and face losing their status and their rights.

And he said there are particular concerns about children about in care with applications not made for about 1200 young people.

"I pressed for the government to do what other European countries have done in relation to UK citizens and that's recognise that we are going through a global pandemic and extend the deadline so these issues can get sorted out," he said.

"We need to actively reach out" to those people who have not applied he said "because they are the hard to reach groups - those people with language difficulties, perhaps people in care, young people in social care," he added.

Immigration minister Kevin Foster said "the overwhelming majority" of people have now applied and "there are provisions for late applications where people have reasonable grounds for making one".

"We will take a practical and compassionate approach to those who haven't applied particularly where there may be vulnerabilities or obvious reasonable grounds such as children whose parents may not have applied for them."

He said if people have any concerns about their status come the 1st of July "the message is simple - don't delay, apply today".

There is "a range of grant funded support organisations that will help people apply and we have an assisted digital service that people can use if needed" he added.

Source: - https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-57657520

 

Right to Buy: buying your council home

Contents

  1. Overview
  2. Discounts
  3. Applying
  4. Your landlord's offer
  5. Appeals
  6. Delays
  7. Selling your home
  8. Help and advice

Overview

Right to Buy allows most council tenants to buy their council home at a discount. Use the eligibility checker on the Right to Buy website to find out if you can apply.

There are different rules for WalesScotland and Northern Ireland.

You can apply to buy your council home if:

  • it’s your only or main home
  • it’s self-contained
  • you’re a secure tenant
  • you’ve had a public sector landlord (for example, a council, housing association or NHS trust) for 3 years - it does not have to be 3 years in a row

Joint applications

You can make a joint application with:

  • someone who shares your tenancy
  • up to 3 family members who’ve lived with you for the past 12 months (even if they do not share your tenancy)

Ex-council homes

If your home used to be owned by the council, but they sold it to another landlord (like a housing association) while you were living in it, you may have the Right to Buy. This is called ‘Preserved Right to Buy’.

Ask your landlord if this applies to you.

Other ways to buy your home

If you were not living in your home when it was sold by the council you may still be able to buy it through the Voluntary Right to Buy pilot.

source: https://www.gov.uk/right-to-buy-buying-your-council-home

Covid: What are my money-back rights for holidays abroad?

The government is expected to lift some restrictions on overseas holidays in the next few days.

But with Covid still widespread, tourists will have to think carefully about their financial protection.

Where will I be able to go on holiday?

England will soon release a list of "green list" destinations, where people can travel without having to quarantine on their return (although they will have to take tests).

All other countries will be rated amber or red, and travellers will still need to quarantine after visiting them.

Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have not said when they might allow foreign travel.

Can I cancel my holiday if I would need to self-isolate?

There is always a risk that a green-list country could move to the amber or red list, although the government says it will give notice.

If that happened you would need to quarantine after the holiday - something that could be difficult for many people.

Operators do not have to refund you if this happens and you unexpectedly have to self-isolate on your return.

It is best to study their policies before booking, or see whether they can offer some support if you have already booked and want to cancel.

Will I be refunded if my holiday is cancelled?

If the government announces that travel to a particular country is not advised, then airlines and travel companies are likely to cancel any pre-booked flights or holidays there.

If this happens, you are entitled to a full refund, and you can choose to receive that refund in cash.

An airline should refund the money within seven days, although some people have had to wait longer.

A package holiday should be refunded, in full, within 14 days.

What if I make a decision that it's too risky to travel?

This is far less clear-cut. If you cancel, rather than the travel provider doing so, then you have no automatic right to a refund.

In this situation, it is worth contacting the airline or holiday provider to see what options you have.

Some may allow you to transfer to another date or destination, they may give you a voucher, or they may allow you to cancel and get a refund.

Will travel insurance cover me if I get Covid?

Travel insurers are offering different levels of cover. In part, this depends on how much you pay for a policy.

The majority will pay out if you test positive for Covid and have to cancel before you travel.

In most other Covid-related scenarios, only a minority of policies will give you financial cover, according to analysis by data specialists Defaqto.

For example, if a positive or missed Covid test stops you from boarding a flight back to the UK, only about one in 10 policies will cover you for costs.

If the Foreign Office advises against travel to a country, then all but a handful of travel insurance policies would be invalid.

Graphic - travel insurance policy cover during Covid

Why is this so complicated?

The rules are going to be fairly complex, given that the risk of Covid varies so much between different countries.

The government says it will publish a charter "that clearly sets out consumer rights and responsibilities when booking travel while Covid-19 measures remain in place".

It also says it expects travel operators to be "flexible" with customers given the circumstances.

 

source:https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-51615412

Value of private property hits record level as equity release deals surge

With the value of private property on the rise, there are a number of equity release products available. This can help fund retirements and further investment for people aged 55 or older.

For the first time, the total value of UK private property surpassed £6trn, according to a report from the Equity Release Council. This happened near the end of last year as market activity recovered following the first COVID-19 lockdown. Discounting any mortgage debt, the amount of private property equity reached a record £4.6trn.

Regular mortgage repayments are below pre-COVID levels. This is likely due to those who have been negatively impacted by the pandemic. However, mortgage-holders still made £5.1bn worth of overpayments in the last quarter of 2020. Mortgage overpayments even topped about £192m per day. This shows that some households were able to put more savings towards paying their home off quicker.

Equity release options rising

Equity release can be used to free up some of the cash from properties and is available to those aged 55 and over. This involves releasing a lump sum of money from the property or taking out smaller amounts at a time. In recent years, there has been a rise in the number of people taking equity out of their existing home to invest in another property.

The number of products available in the equity release market increased to a record high. In the second half of last year, 100 new products were added to make 488 in total. This is over double the number of products available two years prior. Additionally, access to retirement interest-only mortgages improved in 2020 with over 100 products available for the first time.

David Burrowes, chairman of the Equity Release Council, says: “After the unprecedented upheaval of early 2020, the equity release market showed signs of recovery as households and businesses remained resilient against a challenging backdrop.”

Retirement planning

Property can play an important role in retirement planning. Often property investment is viewed as one of the top additions or alternative to a pension. Some pensions are starting to decrease in real terms. Many people on the verge of retirement are beginning to consider all the options available to them. And property investment comes out on top when investing for the long term.

Some retirees are using equity release as a way to free up money for retirement. Many have benefitted from the drawdown after seeing significant capital appreciation in their homes over the years.

“Accessing property wealth will play a vital role in retirement planning, both now and in the years to come,” he states. “For today’s retirees, it can make the difference between making ends meet or enjoying a more comfortable lifestyle by boosting their pension income, improving or adapting their homes life and paying for domestic care support.

“For younger generations, it can open up the possibility of receiving a ‘living inheritance’ to support their own financial goals, such as getting on the property ladder.”

Increasing property wealth

Long-term property investment is continuing to provide strong gains for many property owners and investors. In the UK, property tends to increase in value of time. This means the longer you own a property the higher your returns will likely be. Compared to historically low savings rates, property is a long-term asset providing a much higher level of stability.

According to research by Savills, the total value of the UK’s housing stock hit a record high of £7.56trn. Despite the challenging past year due to the pandemic, house prices have increased rapidly. And long-term outlook for investment in the UK property market remains positive for the coming years.

David Burrowes comments: “Property wealth ranks second only to pensions in terms of its importance to household finances across the country. The transformation of later life mortgage products in recent years has given people more opportunities to access property wealth at affordable rates.”

Source: https://www.buyassociation.co.uk/2021/04/26/value-of-private-property-hits-record-level-as-equity-release-deals-surge/

March is Free Wills Month!

Free Wills Month brings together a group of well-respected charities to offer members of the public aged 55 and over the opportunity to have their simple Wills written or updated free of charge by using participating solicitors in locations across England, Scotland and Wales.

The solicitors have all taken steps to help keep you safe from coronavirus.

An up to date Will written by a solicitor ensures your wishes are respected. It also avoids difficult decisions and legal complications for your loved ones. Free Wills Month allows you to provide for family and friends and leave a gift to your chosen charities too.A gift in your Will costs you nothing now but can make a difference for years to come.To take part in Free Wills Month please scroll down and fill in a few details and click submit, we'll only contact you about this Free Wills Month campaign (unless you choose further contact from the charities), you will then get access to the details of your local participating law firms.

Source: - https://freewillsmonth.org.uk/

GET A FREE WILL

GET A FREE WILL - WILLS & LASTING POWERS OF ATTORNEY

Throughout March 2021 For anyone aged over 55 https://www.saifeesolicitors.com/ #Wills #willsandprobate #willsandtrusts #saifeesolicitors
Landlords & Tenants

We at Saifee Solicitors can assist with your property needs and our specialists

in the following matters: –

Residential:

Commercial:

Landlord and Tenant:

Please contact one of our team on 0330 124 3083 so that we can assist you with any of the above.

National lockdown: Stay at Home

You must not leave or be outside of your home except where you have a ‘reasonable excuse’. This will be put in law. The police can take action against you if you leave home without a ‘reasonable excuse’, and issue you with a fine (Fixed Penalty Notice).

You can be given a Fixed Penalty Notice of £200 for the first offence, doubling for further offences up to a maximum of £6,400.

A ‘reasonable excuse’ includes:

  • Work - you can only leave home for work purposes where it is unreasonable for you to do your job from home, including but not limited to people who work within critical national infrastructure, construction or manufacturing that require in-person attendance
  • Volunteering - you can also leave home to provide voluntary or charitable services.
  • Essential activities - you can leave home to buy things at shops or obtain services. You may also leave your home to do these things on behalf of a disabled or vulnerable person or someone self-isolating.
  • Education and childcare - You can only leave home for education, registered childcare, and supervised activities for children where they are eligible to attend. Access to education and children’s activities for school-aged pupils is restricted. See further information on education and childcare. People can continue existing arrangements for contact between parents and children where they live apart. This includes childcare bubbles.
  • Meeting others and care - You can leave home to visit people in your support bubble ( if you are legally permitted to form one), to provide informal childcare for children under 14 as part of a childcare bubble (for example, to enable parents to work, and not to enable social contact between adults), to provide care for disabled or vulnerable people, to provide emergency assistance, to attend a support group (of up to 15 people), or for respite care where that care is being provided to a vulnerable person or a person with a disability, or is a short break in respect of a looked-after child.
  • Exercise - You can continue to exercise alone, with one other person or with your household or support bubble. This should be limited to once per day, and you should not travel outside your local area.You should maintain social distancing. See exercising and meeting other people.
  • Medical reasons - You can leave home for a medical reason, including to get a COVID-19 test, for medical appointments and emergencies.
  • Harm and compassionate visits - you can leave home to be with someone who is giving birth, to avoid injury or illness or to escape risk of harm (such as domestic abuse). You can also leave home to visit someone who is dying or someone in a care home (if permitted under care home guidance), hospice, or hospital, or to accompany them to a medical appointment.
  • Animal welfare reasons – you can leave home for animal welfare reasons, such as to attend veterinary services for advice or treatment.
  • Communal worship and life events - You can leave home to attend or visit a place of worship for communal worship, a funeral or event related to a death, a burial ground or a remembrance garden, or to attend a wedding ceremony. You should follow the guidance on the safe use of places of worship and must not mingle with anyone outside of your household or support bubble when attending a place of worship.Weddings, funerals and religious, belief-based or commemorative events linked to someone’s death are all subject to limits on the numbers that can attend, and weddings and civil ceremonies may only take place in exceptional circumstances.

There are further reasonable excuses. For example, you may leave home to fulfil legal obligations or to carry out activities related to buying, selling, letting or renting a residential property, or where it is reasonably necessary for voting in an election or referendum.

source: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/national-lockdown-stay-at-home?priority-taxon=774cee22-d896-44c1-a611-e3109cce8eae#detailed-guidance-on-the-national-lockdown

Immigration Solicitor

Are you looking for a Immigration Solicitor,  do you need guidance or assistance with VISA applications,  if so get in touch using any of the details below:-

Leicester:

37 Beaumont Street,

Oadby, LE2 4DA

0116 243 8852

 

Hounslow:

Office 3, Duke of Cambridge House,

1-3 Kingsley Road, TW3 1PA

020 3621 4545

General – 03301243083

 

Immigration: Visa applications open under UK's post-Brexit system

New immigration rules will be "simple and flexible", ministers have promised, as the UK's points-based post-Brexit system prepares to go live.

From Tuesday all foreign nationals, including from the European Union, who want to work in the UK from 1 January will have to apply online for a visa.

Those seeking a skilled worker visa will need a job offer, to be proficient in English and earn at least £25,600.

Free movement from and to the EU will come to an end on 31 December.

EU citizens already living in the UK by 31 December and their families do not have to go through the new system but instead can apply to the EU Settlement Scheme, and have until 30 June 2021 to do so.

If they are successful, they will be able to remain in the UK and claim the same benefits as UK citizens if they become unemployed.

Irish citizens do not need to apply to the scheme and will not require permission to come to the UK, as the UK and Ireland are both part of a Common Travel Area.

The UK left the EU on 31 January but has been largely following its rules during the subsequent 11-month transition period, as the two sides try to reach agreement over a trade deal.

As talks continue in London, the UK is stepping up its preparations for leaving the EU's single market and customs union at the end of the year.

The government has announced it is setting up a new Border Operations Centre, which it says will ensure round-the-clock surveillance of goods and passengers coming in and out of British ports for the first time.

Border preparations stepped up

Cutting-edge software will be used to gather information about the flow of goods and passengers in the hope of minimising the amount of "short-term" disruption at the border in the days and weeks after 1 January.

Cabinet Office minister Michael Gove said the new system, which will be manned 24/7, would enable the authorities to identify and get on top of bottlenecks "quickly and decisively".

Business groups have said delays at the border are inevitable given the looming changes to customs procedures while Labour said "glaring questions" remained unanswered about what businesses needed to do.

"The government is putting the burden on businesses to prepare for the end of the transition period when it has not explained what it is those businesses are getting ready for," said shadow minister Rachel Reeves.

"The government is re-badging a basic element of preparation but still can't tell us how many customs agents are recruited or trained or whether crucial IT is ready."

 

To tackle what the Cabinet Office calls the "challenges" of potential disruption at the UK border next year, a Border Operations Centre will use big data technology to try to "identify the root causes" of hold-ups to passengers and freight.

The software system is produced by the controversial US tech firm Palantir and will pull together information from different government computers to monitor the flow of people and vehicles across the UK border.

Palantir has courted controversy in the United States, where its systems are used by US Immigration and Customs Enforcement.

This has led the human rights organisation Amnesty International to warn of "a high risk that Palantir is contributing to serious human rights violations of migrants and asylum-seekers".

The company denies the suggestion and says it remains extremely concerned about protecting human rights, privacy rights, and civil liberties in general.

The UK government has stressed that Palantir will only process data in Britain and that strict measures are in place to protect personal information.

 

What is changing in immigration?

The UK's new immigration system will determine who can work in the country from 1 January.

Online applications for visas via a range of new "routes" will open on Tuesday.

Applications for skilled worker visas will be judged on the basis of a points system, which is modelled on the system in place in Australia for many years.

Points will be awarded for a job offer at the appropriate skill level in an eligible occupation, knowledge of English and whether applicants meet a salary threshold - which will typically be at least £25,600.

The cost of applying will be between £610 to £1,408 and people will have to show they have enough money to support themselves as well as having proof of identity.

Applicants will have to wait about three weeks to find out whether they have been successful.

Route for 'exceptional talent'

Home Secretary Priti Patel said the system would be "simple, effective and flexible" and enable employers to fill skills gaps while also placing a greater onus on firms to train and invest in British workers.

Ms Patel and other critics of free movement have long argued it has left British firms overly reliant on low-skilled workers from the continent and put applicants from the rest of the rest of the world at a disadvantage.

But unions have warned of a looming crisis over the recruitment of social care staff under the new rules and says action is also needed to support those foreign-born NHS workers whose visas are expiring.

Applications also opened on Tuesday for Global Talent, Innovator and Start-Up visas designed to attract "those who have an exceptional talent or show exceptional promise in the fields of engineering, science, tech or culture".

New rules for international students came into force in October.

The rights of the more than three million EU citizens already working in the UK are protected under the terms of the Withdrawal Agreement signed by the UK and EU earlier this year.

As of 30 September, 2.1 million people had been granted settled status and 1.6 million pre-settled status - ensuring they can remain in the UK.

 

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/uk-politics-55133506

 

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

Leicester:
37 Beaumont Street,
Oadby, LE2 4DA

0116 243 8852


Hounslow:
Office 3, Duke of Cambridge House,
1-3 Kingsley Road, TW3 1PA

020 3621 4545


General – 03301243083


Email us:info@saifeesolicitors.com

Opening Hours: M-F 09:30 to 17:00
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