National minimum wage rates increase from April 2018

From 1 April 2018, the hourly minimum wage rates will be as follows:

  • National Living Wage (for those aged 25+) £7.83
  • Standard adult rate (for those aged 21+) £7.38
  • Development rate (for those aged 18-20) £5.90
  • Young workers rate (for those aged 16-17) £4.20
  • Apprentice rate £3.70

Access UK: the Home Office’s new streamlined application process

In advance of the start of the new visa year on 6 April, the Home Office has just announced the roll out of a new more streamlined application process called Access UK for Tier 2 visa applicants and PBS dependants applying from overseas.

The form asks very similar questions to the previous system (which also remains in use at the time of writing). However, in line with other recent Home Office changes, it is more user friendly, filters questions according to earlier answers, and promises a simpler system for booking Visa Application Centre appointments and arranging payments.

It is likely that Access UK will, over time, be rolled out to other Tiers as well.

Employment tribunal claims rise again following abolition of fees

Employment tribunal claims in October to December 2017 have risen 90% compared to the same period last year, the government’s latest quarterly statistics show.

During this period 8,173 single claims were brought, up from 4,200 in the same period. The data also shows a 467 increase in the numbers of multiple claims although, of those 31,921 multiple claims filed in the last quarter of 2017, approximately 30,000 of them were part of a large group claim against an airline. The Ministry of Justice (MoJ) commented that numbers of multiple claims tend to be “more volatile”.

The MoJ commented that the sharp rise is believed to be fuelled by the Supreme Court decision last year that employment fees were unlawful, which led to the immediate withdrawal of the scheme. The number of claims brought dropped substantially when fees were introduced in July 2013, and the current figures show that levels are still lower than before the introduction of fees.