Latest updates

Financial support for self-employed extended in line with employee furlough scheme
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 08 July 2020

The government's Coronavirus Self-Employment Income Support Scheme has been extended to provide a second three-month grant for self-employed individuals affected by COVID-19 after 13 July 2020. The value of the second self-employed grants has been reduced to 70% of trading profit for three months. The government has made it clear that financial support cannot continue indefinitely, and that this will be the final grant instalment under the self-employed scheme.

British National (Overseas) visa scheme and Hong Kong to United Kingdom migration
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 08 July 2020

The government recently announced its commitment to establishing a new visa scheme for all British National (Overseas) persons and their dependants. The visa will provide a readily available opportunity for millions of Hong Kong residents to move to the United Kingdom more easily and honours the United Kingdom's historic commitment to Hong Kong.

Windrush Day 2020 – lessons learned?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 01 July 2020

Windrush Day is a time to celebrate the substantial and ongoing contribution of the Windrush generation and their descendants, who helped to rebuild the United Kingdom after World War II and have influenced the United Kingdom's social, cultural and political landscape ever since. It is also a time to reflect on righting the wrongs of the Windrush scandal and focus on the fight against racism.

Home and away – when working from home means working abroad
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 01 July 2020

COVID-19 is causing many employees to ask if they can work from home for an extended period overseas (eg, because it is their home nation or because their family is based there). Employers should consider a variety of issues – including the tax, social security, immigration and employment implications – before agreeing to an employee's request to work from home when home is not in the United Kingdom. This article discusses the issues and sets out practical steps that employers can take to minimise risks.

UK immigration beyond lockdown
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 24 June 2020

UK visa processing is slowly starting to resume, but it is not yet business as usual. There are still many things that employers and applicants must monitor and potential pitfalls to avoid. The issues relating to processing remain complex and, as each country is moving out of lockdown at a different pace depending on their local restrictions, each application should be considered on a case-by-case basis.

How to flexi-furlough – government reveals more details
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 24 June 2020

The government has published updated guidance on the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, setting out the pathway to its phasing out. The guidance provides details of the complex mechanism under which flexible furloughing (ie, part work and part furlough) will be allowed from 1 July 2020.

New quarantine rules cause confusion for cross-border workers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 17 June 2020

New rules require most international travellers who arrive in the United Kingdom from 8 June 2020 to self-isolate for 14 days. There is an exemption for cross-border workers; however, how this works in practice is not straightforward. This article examines the exemption and provides information for employers with regard to eligibility.

Race discrimination complaints in the workplace and how to address them
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 17 June 2020

With Black Lives Matter (BLM) protests taking place across the United Kingdom and worldwide, many businesses have publicly stated their commitment to equality and the BLM movement. However, what happens when the experience of current or former black, Asian and minority ethnic employees is alleged not to live up to that standard? Employers must find ways to address such complaints and take appropriate action where needed.

Restructuring workplaces post COVID-19: FAQs for employers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 10 June 2020

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme may have been extended until 31 October 2020, but employers should already be thinking about what their workforce might look like following the end of subsidised furlough and a return to more normal working patterns. This article answers key questions on options for restructuring workforces, including with regard to ending or extending furlough, notice and redundancy payment rights during furlough, changing terms and conditions and dealing with redundancies.

Home Office guidance on employing European citizens
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 10 June 2020

The Brexit transition period will end on 31 December 2020. EEA nationals and their family members who are resident in the United Kingdom before that date have until 30 June 2021 to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme. In doing so, they will obtain either settled or pre-settled status. The Home Office recently confirmed two points concerning EEA nationals and their family members.

Government's immigration stance on frontline workers proves controversial
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 03 June 2020

The Home Office recently published an expanded list of COVID-19 frontline workers' occupations entitling them and their family members to a free and automatic one-year extension of leave. The expanded list includes biochemists, midwives and paramedics. Controversially, other frontline health and social care workers – in particular, care workers and home carers – have been excluded from the extension arrangements.

Sickness and sick pay – FAQs for employers as COVID-19 lockdown restrictions ease
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 03 June 2020

The government has set out its roadmap for gradually easing the COVID-19 lockdown restrictions, but as employees begin to return to work, there will continue to be many individuals who are unwell or required to self-isolate. This article answers some of the most frequently asked questions about sickness absence and sick pay during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, including the rules on statutory sick pay and the position of people who are self-isolating, shielding or otherwise vulnerable.

COVID-19: does employers' duty of care extend to commuting to work?
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 27 May 2020

Following the government's publication of its post-COVID-19 recovery strategy, employers are beginning to consider how they may safely reopen their workplace for those who cannot work from home. Employers have statutory duties to provide a safe workplace, but what of risks faced by employees during their commute to work? For many employees, the key concern is not what happens in the workplace, but rather the risks of using public transport to get there.

MAC launches six-week call for evidence on shortage occupations
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 27 May 2020

Employers have until 24 June 2020 to provide their views to the Migration Advisory Committee (MAC) on what occupations should be on the shortage occupation lists for UK sponsored skilled migration from 1 January 2021. Employers can complete an online form outlining details of what occupations they have difficulty recruiting for and why. In light of the COVID-19 outbreak, the MAC would also like to hear from employers that are unable to respond before the deadline, but can provide details for future research.

Furlough scheme extended until end of October 2020
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 May 2020

The Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme has been extended by a further four months until 31 October 2020. The furlough scheme will continue in its current form without any changes until 31 July 2020. However, new flexibility will be introduced from the beginning of August 2020, with the aim of getting employees back to work and boosting the economy. Employers should use the news of the furlough scheme extension to think proactively about the next stage of their business continuity plans.

Pandemic right to work checks procedures
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 20 May 2020

Under the Home Office's current guidance for right to work (RTW) checks, it is possible to conduct a fully compliant initial or follow-up RTW check without seeing an individual face to face. Where this is impossible during the COVID-19 pandemic, the Home Office has instituted a temporary adjusted procedure, which must be backed up by retrospective checks in due course. This article summarises the options and procedures and highlights some general points to be aware of during the pandemic.

COVID-19: health and safety considerations when establishing return-to-work plans
Lewis Silkin Ireland
  • Employment & Immigration
  • Ireland
  • 13 May 2020

As the COVID-19 crisis begins to ease, employers must think carefully about how to safely manage the process of returning employees to the workplace. Companies must ensure the health and safety of their employees and visitors to their premises and comply with any continuing government guidelines, including in relation to physical distancing. This article summarises the legal landscape and various considerations that employers will need to take into account in Ireland.

Conducting workplace investigations remotely during COVID-19
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 13 May 2020

COVID-19 has changed the ways in which businesses run and there is still some time before it is 'business as usual'. Most employers are grappling with new ways of working, with many employees working from home. However, what should employers do if they become aware of an allegation of misconduct or wrongdoing? This article considers whether a remote investigation is the right step to take and what employers should bear in mind if they conclude that it is.

COVID-19: Tier 2 workers' changes to salary, furlough scheme and redundancy
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 13 May 2020

The spread of the COVID-19 pandemic across the globe is having significant and wide-ranging economic and public health impacts. Businesses are already feeling the adverse side effects of profoundly changed trading circumstances. This article highlights the immigration implications of a number of actions that employers may be forced to take to protect their business over the coming months.

Guide to immigration implications of COVID-19 for employers
Lewis Silkin
  • Employment & Immigration
  • United Kingdom
  • 06 May 2020

This article sets out the main immigration law issues and Home Office guidance of which employers need to be aware so that they can consider the implications of the COVID-19 pandemic for their business. It summarises the latest updates and provides further details on issues ranging from logistical considerations to Tier 2 and prevention of illegal working requirements.