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Displaying items by tag: COVID19

The current Covid-19 pandemic is causing complications for many people but especially for those who are currently in the UK on a short-term visa.

Visas have been automatically extended to 31 July 2020 to allow visitors time to get home during this difficult situation. Those who wish to remain, however, would normally need to apply for a new visa from outside the UK. With so many restrictions on travel this is proving problematic.

In light of the situation, the Home Office is allowing eligible applicants who have been in the UK as a visitor for six months or less to switch to a ‘family visa’ without leaving the UK.

A family visa allows you to live with a family member and remain in the UK for more than six months. You are eligible to apply if you plan to live with a:

  • spouse or partner;
  • fiancé, fiancée or proposed civil partner;
  • child;
  • parent;
  • relative who will provide long-term care for you.

You can learn more on coronavirus visa extension and switch measures at UK Government Covid-19 advice for UK Visa applications and temporary UK residents or visit the UK Government website here to learn more about the Family Visa.

Points to Note with Family Visas

Generally your family member is considered your sponsor and they must be a British citizen or have settled status in the UK.

You can apply for a family permit if your family member is living and working in the UK but is from the EU, EEA or Switzerland. If your parent or partner is in the UK with refugee status or humanitarian protection you may be able to apply for family reunion.

It is important to note that in order for you to apply, your family member cannot be in the UK temporarily, for example on a work or student visa. If this is the case, you can apply to stay with them as a dependant instead.

You can also request to switch to a family visa if you had permission to stay in the UK as a partner and your partner has since died or you are a victim of domestic abuse.

To apply you need to submit an application with supporting documentation before your current permission to stay in the UK expires. You will need to pay the relevant application fees and the Immigration Health Surcharge. Given most visas run out 31 July 2020 it is imperative to start your application as soon as possible.

For more help and advice on your immigration status and help with visa applications contact De Jure Chambers or click here to book an initial consultation

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Telephone: +44 2087980917 (Chancery Lane Office) Or +44 1223 643580 (Cambridge Office)

Mobile/Text/WhatsApp: +44 796 482 5381


Published in News
Wednesday, 15 April 2020 08:20

Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme (Furlough):

A brief summary of the government guidance on furloughing employees


Update: Employer must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 19 March 2020 instead of February 2020 and 2) on 17 April 2020, Chancellor extended furlough scheme by 1 month to end of June 2020. to reflect continuing social distancing measures.


The UK Government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme on 26 March 2020 and it was subsequently updated on 9 April to include information on eligibility and pension contributions.

The scheme is a financial package designed to help UK employers whose operations have been severely affected by the current coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). It enables employers to retain employees and so protect the UK economy. It is currently in place for three months from 1 March 2020.

The scheme is open to any legal entity including businesses, charities, recruitment agencies and public authorities that meet the following key criteria:

  1. must have created and started a PAYE payroll scheme on or before 28 February 2020;
  2. enrolled for PAYE online - this can take up to 10 days; and
  3. has a UK bank account.

Who is eligible?

The scheme is open to office holders (including company directors), salaried members of Limited Liability Partnerships (LLPs), agency workers (including those employed by umbrella companies), limb (b) workers, apprentices, individuals and administrators. Public sector organisations may use the scheme to furlough employees if they meet specified criteria.

Employees eligible to be furloughed

  • Employees that were on employer PAYE payroll on or before 28 February 2020.
  • Full-time, part-time, agency, flexible employees or employee on zero-hour contracts.
  • Foreign nationals on any category of visa scheme. Grants under the scheme are not counted as ‘access to public funds’.
  • Rehired employees that were made redundant or that they stopped working for employer after 28 February
  • Employees that started unpaid leave after 28 February 2020.
  • Employees who are on long-term sick leave.
  • Employees who are shielding in line with public health guidance (or need to stay home with someone who is shielding)
  • Employees who are unable to work because they have caring responsibilities resulting from coronavirus

There are some employees that are not eligible to be furloughed:

  • Employees hired after 28 February 2020
  • Any employee who is actively working for or on behalf of the eligible employer or any of its linked or associated organisations
  • Employees working reduced hours
  • Employees self-isolating or on sick leave (therefore eligible for Statutory Sick Pay
  • Furloughed employees who become ill and therefore must be paid at least Statutory Sick Pay.


There is no advice for companies on how to select staff to be furloughed. However employment and equality law still apply.

It is up to an employer whether or not to furlough, which employees to furlough and when. However, the decision and selection of employees must be structured, formal and comply with direct or indirect discrimination and equality law. An employer must create an objective selection procedure to decide which employees to furlough. This will ensure they are fair and consistent, limiting the risk of falling foul of discrimination law.

Employers should discuss the plan and process with employees and come to an agreement with the worker if the employment contract needs to be changed. Employers must confirm the agreement to furlough in writing to their employee and a record of this communication must be kept for five years.

Employers who furlough employees can apply for a grant that covers 80% of their usual monthly wage costs up to £2,500 a month from the date that the employee starts furlough. The £2,500 cap includes associated Employer National Insurance contributions and pension contributions (up to the level of the minimum automatic enrolment employer pension contribution) on that subsidised furlough pay.

Any regular employer payment like wages, past overtime, fees and compulsory commission payments is eligible. However discretionary payments must be excluded.  Employers can choose to top up employer's employee’s salary, but are not mandated to do so.

In order to make a claim, employers must provide:

  • Employer PAYE reference number
  • The number of employees being furloughed
  • National Insurance Numbers for the employees employer is seeking to furlough
  • Names of the employees that employer want to furlough
  • Payroll/works number for the employees that employer want to furlough
  • Employer's Self-Assessment Unique Taxpayer Reference or Corporation Tax Unique Tax-payer Reference or Company Registration Number
  • The claim period (start and end date)
  • Amount claimed (per the minimum length of furloughing of 3 consecutive weeks)
  • Employer's bank account number and sort code
  • Employer's contact name and phone number
  • The amount employer is claiming.

How to Claim

HM Revenue & Customs (HMRC) is creating an online claims portal for the scheme which is expected to be available by the end of April 2020.

When it becomes available and an employer makes a claim, HMRC will check the claim, and if an employee is eligible, the grant will be paid by BACS to a UK bank account.

This is a brief summary of De Jure Chambee's view on the Job Retention Scheme as at 14 April 2020. It is not legal advice. If employer wish to use the scheme employer should read all the government guidance before deciding how best to proceed. To seek independent legal advice from our CORVID-19 Team of specialist employment, health and safety, insurance, personal injury, Health and Social Care and regulatory/local authority lawyers, please contact our offices: 

Email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 

Telephone: +44 2087980917  (Chancery Lane Office) Or +44 1223 643580 (Cambridge Office)

Mobile/Text/WhatsApp: +44 7964825381


Published in News
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