We are nearing the end of 2020, a year which has brought much turmoil for many across the world. With the pandemic still reaching new heights in the UK, Brexit negotiations nearing the ever-looming New Year’s Eve deadline, and worries about what trade may look like post-Brexit if no deal is confirmed, many are feeling a sense of unease as we edge closer to 2021.
In this blog post, we will round up some of the top stories to come out so far in December 2020, including immigration news, political updates and Brexit negotiations. If you are interested in reading more immigration stories, please visit our blog.
No-deal Brexit update
The deadline for the UK and the EU to agree on a suitable deal for the UK’s full transition out of the EU looms closer. A decision must be made by 1st January 2021, else the UK will face leaving the UK with a no-deal scenario. We wrote a previous blog post about what a no-deal Brexit could mean to the UK. The general consensus from economists has been that a no-deal Brexit could bring significant economic shocks for the UK. However, as we get closer to the deadline, it looks as though negotiations for a deal between Prime Minister, Boris Johnson, and the European Union are becoming much more strenuous. Still, no deal that both sides are happy with seems to have been agreed, and warnings have already been issued by the UK Government that we may need to prepare for a no-deal outcome. Negotiations are far from over, however, and Johnson and the EU have vowed that they will go the “extra mile” to come to an appropriate deal. Could this mean that the EU will offer the UK another extension on the matter? Or will the UK be sent out the door with nothing once 2021 rolls in? Government sources have supposedly put the chance of a no-deal scenario as 80% likely to happen. However, conversations are still going on as we write this post, and it looks likely that the next few days will be crucial in coming to a final decision.
Windrush compensation expected to increase
It is expected that Home Office Secretary, Priti Patel, will soon make an announcement on improvements to the Windrush Compensation Scheme, with victims able to receive higher payments at a quicker pace. Individuals who have already received their payments will also be able to have their cases reviewed to decide whether they can claim further funds. The Windrush Compensation Scheme has been widely criticised, with victims having to wait huge lengths of time, often for less financial help than they were expecting. We wrote a blog post about the failings of The Windrush Compensation scheme. The Windrush Scandal saw thousands of individuals who were living legally in the UK for decades being incorrectly categorised as immigration offenders. Many were detained or deported, and others lost access to benefits, healthcare, jobs and homes.
Huge take-up for Hong Kong resettlement scheme
Earlier in the year, the UK Government announced a new visa route for BNO citizens living in Hong Kong who want to move to the United Kingdom to live and work. We wrote a full post about the BNO visa route and how individuals can qualify for this. The visa route is open from January 2021, and it has been announced that the take up from individuals in Hong Kong is likely to be higher than the British Government had expected. A survey has found that more than 600,000 individuals may want to move to the UK within the first 2 years of the scheme being rolled out. Advocacy groups have suggested that the Government must prepare for this, and more needs to be done to get ready for the arrival of these individuals.