Coronavirus Bill (UK)

UPDATE (Thursday 19th March) : all stages of the Coronavirus Bill will be taken in the Commons on Monday (not today) – the timetable in the Lords is not published

As we are all aware, coronavirus COVID-19 was declared a global pandemic by the World Health Organization on 11 March 2020.

The UK Department of Health and Social Care (DHSC) has identified that to effectively manage this coronavirus outbreak in the UK, new fast-tracked legislation is required – termed the Coronavirus Bill.

The legislation will be time-limited – for 2 years – and not all of these measures will come into force immediately. The bill allows the 4 UK governments to switch on these new powers when they are needed, and, crucially, to switch them off again once they are no longer necessary, based on the advice of Chief Medical Officers of the 4 nations.

This Blog does not focus on the specifics of the healthcare sector or social care, but there are some areas in this Bill, that this Blog does track – the Bill :

(1) enables the Home Secretary to request that port and airport operators temporarily close and suspend operations if Border Force staff shortages result in a real and significant threat to the UK’s border security. This is to ensure the UK can maintain adequate border security throughout the pandemic and protect the public from the threat of criminality or importation of prohibited items that could result from an inadequately controlled border. This would only be used in extremis, where necessary and proportionate, and any direction will be kept to the minimum period necessary to maintain the security of the UK border

(2) enables the government to restrict or prohibit events and gatherings during the pandemic in any place, vehicle, train, vessel or aircraft, any movable structure and any offshore installation and, where necessary, to close premises

(3) enables the police and immigration officers to detain a person, for a limited period, who is, or may be, infectious and to take them to a suitable place to enable screening and assessment

(4) requires industry to provide information about food supplies, in the event that an industry partner does not co-operate with current voluntary information-sharing arrangements during a period of potential disruption.

Link to details about the Coronavirus Bill.

This Bill is expected to become law on Thursday.

UK Brexit Guidance Update (UK Brexit)

Exit day is 31st October.

Yesterday (18th July) HMG updated the guidance it had issued before the first exit day, to apprentice providers and persons operating further education collages – here.

[it also updated the guidance for schools]

This Blog does not cover employment law, or immigration law.

The Guidance is useful in that it summarises a range of matters, from travel and visas, to food supplies, and the situation for employing people after Brexit.

Please note there is no update to the (February issued) European temporary leave to remain instruction – here.

per the European temporary leave to remain instruction – EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who are granted European temporary leave to remain will be able to stay in the UK for 36 months from the date it is granted. European temporary leave to remain will be a temporary, non-extendable immigration status. It will not give indefinite leave to remain (ILR), lead to status under the EU Settlement Scheme or make EU, EEA and Swiss citizens eligible to stay in the UK indefinitely.

If EU, EEA and Swiss citizens want to stay in the UK for more than 36 months, they will need to apply for an immigration status under the new immigration system, which will come into effect from 1 January 2021. Those who do not qualify will need to leave the UK when their European temporary leave to remain expires.

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who enters the UK before the UK leaves the EU, you’re eligible to apply to the EU Settlement Scheme to continue living in the UK. EU, EEA or Swiss citizens and their families will be able to remain in the UK indefinitely if they are granted settled status under the EU Settlement Scheme.

If you’re an EU, EEA or Swiss citizen who arrives in the UK after the UK leaves the EU but were previously living in the UK before Brexit, you can also apply to the EU Settlement Scheme.

Irish citizens are excluded from the aboveIrish citizens will not need to apply for European temporary leave to remain. They’ll continue to have the right to enter and live in the UK under Common Travel Area arrangements.

Food Supplies (per the guidance to apprentice providers, and it’s also in the schools document – similar guidance is in the instructions for hospitals and care homes)

The government has been working to plan arrangements that ensure goods can continue to flow into the UK without significant delays from additional controls and checks. We are continuously engaging with a wide range of stakeholders to support industry preparedness. However, the government does not have control over the checks imposed by EU Member States at the EU side of the border.

The government, including the Department for Education, will continue to work with food suppliers to prepare for a no deal departure from the EU. Colleges have significant flexibilities in terms of how they provide food for students that are eligible for free meals.

We advise that you contact your food supplier(s) if your college procures food directly to ensure they are planning for potential impacts of a no deal scenario. For example, this may include plans to adapt menus to allow for product substitution.

This would also include seeking reassurance on the ability of suppliers to continue to provide nutritious meals and to accommodate special dietary needs and allergens when introducing any substitute products.