The Scale-Up Visa – A real solution or a nice idea on paper?

The Scale-Up visa was announced on October 27, 2021 by Rishi Sunak MP who is the UK Chancellor of the Exchequer as a part of his 2021 budget. This new visa category is supposedly going to help accelerate the UK business’s ability to attract highly skilled migrant workers in the post Brexit economy.

The main purpose of the Scale-Up visa (in theory) is that it should allow certain employers identified as Scale-Up Companies quicker access to skilled labour from overseas.

WHAT IS A SCALE-UP COMPANY?

A Scale-Up company is a company of high growth that has an annual average revenue or employment growth rate over a 3-year period greater than 20% and have minimum 10 employees in its observation period.

Scale-Up visas and Skilled Worker visas are almost very similar and differ slightly from each other. Skilled Worker visa applicants need to be sponsored by a UK company that holds a licence approved by the Home Office before they can employ a migrant worker from overseas while a Scale-Up visa applicants proposed UK employer does not.

Both visas require a job offer from UK company but the salary requirement for Scale-Up visa is £33,000 whilst the minimum salary required for Skilled Worker visa is £26,000.

KEY ELEMENTS OF NEW VISA:

Following are the key elements of the Scale-Up visa:

  1. Applicant’s will need to prove their English proficiency.
  2. An applicant must have a job offer from a Scale-Up company with salary of at least £33,000 annually to be considered for this visa.
  3. Applicants of Scale-Up visa can extend their visa for a period of 5 years.
  4. After 5 years on the Scale-Up visa route applicants can apply for Indefinite Leave to Remain and thereafter British citizenship.
  5. In the event that an applicant wants to switch employers while holding Scale-Up visa and the new employer is not a scale up company then the applicant can switch into another visa route such as the Skilled Worker visa.
WHAT’S NEXT?

Information published so far indicates that the visa is expected to be launched in 2022 apart from that the UK government hasn’t given a conclusive timeline of when it will be launched.

Subject to meeting specific requirements, further details regarding extension will be released in 2022. It will be interesting to see how the process for accepting that a company meets the ‘Scale-Up’ company definition will work in practice, as it is clearly envisaged that someone will have to make such a decision on behalf of the Home Office.

It remains to be seen whether the changes introduced at the start of 2021 to the Skilled Worker visa and the anticipated Scale-Up visa together will help to kick start the UK economy in 2022 and provide UK employers with access to the best possible talent allowing them to compete and attract the ‘brightest and the best’ to coin a much-loved government phrase.

For any questions on Business or Private Immigration to the UK or if you require assistance with your existing application, please contact Head of Business & Private Immigration at GSC Solicitors LLP Hateem Ali on hali@gscsolicitors.com or +44(0)207 822 2209.

© 2022 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved.  GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

 

Does Plan B mean that I cannot go into the office?

In an effort to tackle the large rise in Coronavirus cases, the government has recently implemented Plan B, which includes measures to try and reduce the spread of the virus.

In relation to those working in offices, the guidance states that “Office workers who can work from home should do so”. However, there are some exceptions to that recommendation. For example, when it is necessary to access certain equipment to allow a person to do their job.

The government has clearly taken into account the toll that working from home has had on certain individuals, as the guidance states that employers should consider whether working from home is appropriate for those “facing mental or physical health difficulties, or those with a particularly challenging home working environment.”

What has not changed is an employer’s obligation to provide for a safe working environment, and employers should remember this if staff will be going into the office.

The law in this article is current as of 20 December 2021.

If you have any employment law queries, please do not hesitate to contact David Nathan at dnathan@gscsolicitors.com or on 020 7822 2247.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

Trade Mark symbols – what do they mean?

At the firm we regularly receive queries about what clients should be doing to show they have Intellectual Property Rights in the brands and logos they create and how they can best show that these are protected. Whilst it is not required, it is best practice to assert the ownership or existence of the rights when they are published, distributed or used. This can be done by using some of the standard industry symbols.

In this article we set out the symbols that should be used in respect of trade marks, their meaning and purpose.  The use of symbols applicable to copyright will be covered in a forthcoming article.

Registered Trade Marks

Image: ®

Description – A capital R contained in a circle. It is usually shown in superscript after the trade marked words, phrase or logo.

Use – This symbol is used to signify that the word, logo, name or phrase has been registered as a trade mark either at the European Union Intellectual Property Office, the UK Intellectual Property Office or another applicable office around the world. It is used to put the general public on notice that the words or symbols have been successfully registered as a trade mark and that use of that sign is subject to the controls that trade mark law provides. The symbol should not be used against any logo or words which have not yet been successfully registered as a trade mark and in many countries it is against the law do so.

Trade Mark

Image: TM

Description – a superscript TM after the trade mark.

Use – This use of this symbol simple shows that the manufacturer of the goods or supplier of the services has used those terms in a trade mark sense (such as to indicate the origin of the goods or services). However, it does not indicate that any registered protection has been given to the mark.  This may be because no application has been made to register the mark or, if an application has been made, the mark has yet to be registered.  The symbol indicates to the general public that the manufacturer or supplier is protective over the sign and so is likely to take action to protect their rights in respect of that sign. This could be by relying on the common law right of passing off (in the UK) or rights of unfair competition.

Service Mark

ImageSM

Description – A superscript SM after the applicable service mark

Use – Akin to the TM symbol mark above, the SM symbol relates to an unregistered service mark and historically has been used in some jurisdictions where the sign is used in respect of services (such as a law firm name) rather than in relation to goods. Where the service mark being used has been registered as a trade mark, the Registered Trade Mark symbol above should be used. This is common to both registered Trade Marks and Services Marks.

for further information, please contact Ross Waldram of GSC’s IP & Media Team on rwaldram@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2222.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

Commercial Landlords and Tenants with Covid-19 Rent Arrears – NEW Code of Practice

What is changing?

Commercial tenants are currently protected from eviction until 25 March 2022, to provide businesses with breathing space and help protect jobs when certain industries had to close in full or in part during the pandemic. A voluntary code for commercial landlords and tenants was introduced in June 2020, encouraging landlords and tenants to negotiate and settle rent arrears where possible.

This has now been replaced by a new voluntary Code of Practice (“the Code”), which will establish a legally binding arbitration process for commercial landlords and tenants who have not already reached agreement on existing rent arrears. The Code sets out that, in the first instance, tenants unable to pay in full should negotiate with their landlord in the expectation that the landlord waives some or all rent arrears where they are able to do so and/or agrees a payment plan, limited to 2 years.

When does the Code apply?

The Code applies to all commercial leases held by business tenants that have built up rent arrears (including service charges and insurance) due to an inability to pay, caused by being forced to close or cease trading as a result of the pandemic. This includes the hospitality, retail, leisure and manufacturing sectors. The arrears must have accrued during a ring-fenced period, being from 21 March 2020, when business closures first came into force, to the date when specific restrictions were last removed for that relevant business sector (“Ring Fenced Debts”).

The business tenants must have a “viable” business. There is no set definition of viability and the parties are asked to consider whether the business tenant, aside from the Ring Fenced Debts, has or will in the foreseeable future have, the means and ability to meet its obligations and to continue trading.  If a tenant business has not been able to pay any rent since Covid restrictions were lifted this may be evidence that the tenant business is not viable.

The Negotiation Process – what you need to show

The Code promotes a settlement that preserves – in so far as possible – the tenant business and the jobs that it supports, without undermining the solvency of the landlord. Tenants will need to show landlords sufficient evidence to substantiate their need for assistance with rent.  Landlords should also make clear to the tenants the impact of late or non-payment of rent on their own circumstances.

Evidence will vary depending on the specific circumstances but could include, existing and anticipated credit/debit balance, business performance since March 2020, overdue invoices or tax demands, exceeding overdraft limits, creditor demands, loss of important contracts, insolvency of a major customer.  When considering what is affordable for either party, this should not include restructuring, borrowing, or the taking on of further debts.

Binding Arbitration – if there is no settlement

Where the parties are unable to reach a settlement, The Commercial Rents (Coronavirus) Bill (“the Bill”) introduces a binding arbitration process.

  • Step 1 A letter of notification: the landlord or tenant must notify the other party of their intention to pursue binding arbitration. At this point the party will be expected to submit a proposal for settlement of Ring Fenced Debts, supported by any appropriate evidence of affordability.
  • Step 2 The other party may respond and can either accept the proposal made or submit a counterproposal.
  • Step 3 An application by either the landlord or the tenant together with a fee: the application must include the notification sent during the pre-application stage, their proposal for resolution and relevant supporting evidence.
  • Step 4 The other party will then have 14 days to submit their own proposal, together with any supporting evidence. Following that, the parties will have the opportunity to submit revised proposals for what the arbitrator’s award should be.
  • Step 5 Both the landlord and tenant will then be given the choice of a public hearing or, if neither party asks for a hearing, the arbitrator will consider the matter based on the documentation provided.
  • Step 6 The arbitrator will seek to conduct a hearing no more than 14 days from the receipt of a request for one. The arbitrator will decide how to conduct the hearing, which should not last more than six hours.
  • Step 7 The arbitrator will consider their decision based on the written evidence and any hearing and notify parties, within 14 days of a hearing, of the award made. The arbitrator’s award will be legally binding.
Timeframe and Fees

Parties will be given 6 months from the date the Bill comes into force to apply for the arbitration process.  It is currently anticipated that the Bill will be passed by 25 March 2022 (being the date upon which the current protection for commercial tenants expires).   The fees payable for arbitration will be payable in advance and are yet to be decided. The fees are expected to be variable; with a sliding scale, relative to the size of the rental arrears owed, used to determine a fee cap and ensure it is proportionate for each case.

Prevention of other Enforcement Action

It is important to note that the Bill will prevent other remedies from being exercised in relation to the Ring Fenced Debts, until either a settlement has been reached or the 6 month timeframe for applying to the arbitration system has passed.

Landlords will not be able to issue debt proceedings nor enforce any judgments obtained in relation to ring-fenced debts between 10 November 2021 and the end of the 6-month window for arbitration.  Landlord’s will also not be able to take any action through the Commercial Rent Arrears Recovery procedure nor commence any insolvency processes.

 PRACTICAL POINTS – what landlords and tenants need to consider
  • Landlords will want to consider carefully the long-term impact of tenant businesses failing and leaving their property empty and liable to business rates.
  • Tenants should be proactive in approaching their landlord and providing sufficient information about the impact that the pandemic has had on their business.
  • Transparency is important for both parties as agreements struck on the basis of false or misleading information are unlikely to be enforceable.
  • Landlords should not seek historic financial information or personal guarantees from tenants where none were provided when the lease commenced. The lease remains an ongoing contract between the parties and should only be varied to reflect the impact of the pandemic upon both parties.
  • Agreements made conditional upon future rent payments or payments towards arrears of rent being honoured by tenants should be flexible enough to accommodate future trading restrictions that the Government might have to impose to manage the pandemic. Future commitments might best be framed by reference to the number of days a business is able to trade normally, such after trading for X days the tenant will pay £y.

For further questions please contact Michael Shapiro directly on: mshapiro@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2246, or  Mark Richardson directly on mrichardson@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2240.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

Family Investment Companies – Tax & Succession Planning

Family Investment Companies (FIC) remain a useful tax and succession planning tool as clients seek alternatives or complementary ways of structuring their estates for tax optimisation and planning for the next generation.
Below is a brief synopsis of what a FIC is and how it works:

GSC_FamilyGuideance_LO_RES

 

For further question in relation to  Private Client Partner Amanda Chapman on achapman@gscsolicitors.com or 020 7822 2254.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

  

Autumn 2021 Budget: Highlights

The Chancellor, Rishi Sunak, delivered the Autumn 2021 Budget on 27 October 2021. Many anticipated for there to be a major overhaul of taxes, including Capital Gains Tax and Inheritance Tax in order to recover Government spending during the Covid-19 crisis, i.e., the cost of the Furlough Scheme. However, in fact, the Chancellor introduced very little changes to the tax system.

The most important announcements for the private client world are listed below.

Lifetime Planning
  •  The deadline for reporting and paying any capital gains tax (CGT) on a sale of residential property in the United Kingdom has been extended from 30 days to 60 days after the completion date. The time limit applies to both UK residents and non-UK residents disposing of property in the United Kingdom.
  • The income tax rates applicable to dividend income will rise by 1.25%. The dividend ordinary rate and the dividend upper rate will rise to 8.75% and 33.75% respectively. The dividend additional rate and the dividend trust rate will rise to 39.35%.
  • From 1 April 2022, the annual chargeable amounts for the annual tax on enveloped dwellings (ATED) will increase by 3.1%.
Real Estate
  •  The Government will introduce a new Residential Property Developer Tax (RPDT) on residential property development profits of a residential property developer derived from UK residential property development. This will take effect from 1 April 2022 for relevant profits arising on or after this date.
  • A new tax regime for Qualifying Asset Holding Companies (QAHCs) will come into effect from 1 April 2022. A QAHC is exempt from UK tax on gains on disposals of specific shares and overseas property as well as profits of an overseas property business that are subject to tax in an overseas jurisdiction. A number of other measures designed to simplify the taxation of financing arrangements for QAHCs will also be introduced to ease the tax and administrative burden.
Charities
  • The Government has no intention of removing any of the existing business rates reliefs, including the mandatory and discretionary charity reliefs.
  • The Government will introduce a new temporary business rates relief for eligible retail, hospitality and leisure properties for 2022-2023. Charities with eligible properties (such as charity shops) will benefit from a 50% relief. There will be a cap of £110,000 per business.
Companies
  •  The Government has published a Consultation containing proposals for enabling the re-domiciliation of a company’s corporate seat to the UK. It seeks views on the introduction of a UK re-domiciliation regime.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact James Cohen directly on jcohen@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2257.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved.  GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

Stamp Duty Tax increase in the past 25 years

The latest property market analysis that has been conducted by Benham and Reeves, a London estate agent, has revealed that that the average SDLT bill for the average homebuyer across the United Kingdom over the last 25 years has increased by 490%.

The increase is mainly due to the property boom and with the stamp duty holiday having ended on 30 September 2021, the cost of stamp duty has now never been higher. Further the legislation surrounding SDLT over the last few years has meant that the it has never been more complicated to calculate the rate of tax. For example, the introduction of surcharges for non-residents, first time buyer discounts and second-home buyer surcharge.

If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact James Cohen directly on jcohen@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2257.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved.  GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

https://bit.ly/3naao8W

Michael Shapiro features in The Guardian

Residential and commercial evictions – where are we now? That’s the question asked by The Guardian readers and answered by Michael Shapiro, who heads GSC’s Litigation & Dispute Resolution.

On 31 May 2021 the restrictions on evicting residential tenants came to an end. ‘Eviction dates are now being listed and we can expect a spate of people being evicted from their homes and pressure being put on the local authorities to rehouse them’, says Michael.

‘The restrictions on possession and forfeiture of commercial leases for non-payment of rent, and seizing a tenants goods during the Covid 19 period was due to expire on 30 June 2021 but this has now been extended until 25 March 2022. This will give tenants more time to resolve their arrears with their landlords, if they can.’

‘Commercial landlords and tenants ought to work together to avoid properties becoming empty. Landlords clearly want to have tenants in occupation paying the ongoing rent and remaining liable for all outgoings, and tenants want to stay in business and earn an income.’

The article can be accessed here

If you have been affected by the new change in law, please do not hesitate to contact Michael Shapiro directly on: mshapiro@gscsolicitors.com or 0207 822 2246.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.

 

 

 

Execution of a warrant of possession coming on 6th July

Today Richard Curtin who heads GSC’s Insolvency & Restructuring department, received notification from the court of the execution of a warrant of possession on 6 July.

This shows that the Courts are now enforcing warrants of possession for residential premises and sooner than many would have expected.

As to commercial premises, the moratorium on forfeiture & winding up petitions is due to end at the end of this month.

If not extended by the Government then Richard expects to see plenty of activity on the part of landlords, solicitors, insolvency practitioners and the Courts.

If you have any questions or concerns about your business, contact Richard Curtin directly on rcurtin@gscsolicitors.com or 020 7822 2222.

© 2021 GSC Solicitors LLP. All rights reserved. GSC grants permission for the browsing of this material and for the printing of one copy per person for personal reference. GSC’s written permission must be obtained for any other use of this material. This publication has been prepared only as a guide to provide readers with general information on recent legal developments. It is not formal legal advice and should not be relied on for any purpose. You should not act or refrain from acting based on the information contained in this document without obtaining specific formal advice from suitably qualified advisors.