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UNITED KINGDOM: New Application Service Announced for Work and Study Visas

30 May 2018

On 17th May 2018, UK Visas and Immigration (UKVI) announced that it had awarded a contract to French outsourcing specialist Sopra Steria, to deliver a new service for applications for work and study visas, settlement and citizenship from within the UK, from October 2018.

How will it work?

Under the new arrangements, applicants will be able to submit biometric information, including photos, fingerprints and signatures, and their supporting evidence, at a single appointment at one of over 60 locations across the UK (including 56 local libraries). The evidence will then be copied and sent to UKVI, so that the applicant can keep their...

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An interview with Lembit Opik, our advisory board member

29 May 2018

Lembit Opik is a former British politician. A member of the Liberal Democrats, he served as a member of parliament (MP) representing the constituency of Montgomeryshire in Wales from 1997 until he lost his seat at the 2010 general election. He was the leader of the Welsh Liberal Democrats from 2001 to 2007.

He is not only an MP, but a celebrity, a BBC broadcaster and a member of Icon Relocation’s Advisory Board. He has appeared several times on the BBC satirical current affairs quiz show Have I Got News for You, as well as Question Time and Any Questions....

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Dulwich in south-east London has seen the fastest growth in average property prices anywhere in England over the past two decades

28 May 2018

Average costs: buying and renting (October 2017) 1 Flat £393,000 or £1,253 a month 2 Flat £536,000 or £1,540 a month 3 House £872,000 or £2,179 a month 4 House £1.11m or £2,966 a month

The property scene

East Dulwich has streets of mainly three- and four-bedroom Victorian houses. There are larger detached early-Victorian houses overlooking Peckham Rye and late-Victorian three-storey terrace houses in The Gardens conservation area, a garden square off Peckham Rye, and large Edwardian detached houses in the Honor Oak Rise conservation area.

The most expensive house currently for sale is a seven-bedroom, 4,500sq ft double-fronted detached house in Mundania...

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GDPR for schools: how will the new data regulations affect my school?

24 May 2018

The new General Data Protection Regulations (GDPR) come into force on 25 May this year, but what will it mean for schools? We take a look at what you need to know and what you need to do to make sure you’re ready.

What will happen on 25 May 2018?

Subject requests

From 25 May, any data subject (that’s someone whose data the school holds) can exercise certain rights with regards to their data. This means that a parent could ask for a school to produce all data it currently holds on their child, or a job applicant could ask you to erase...

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First-time home buyers in London pay twice UK average to get on the housing ladder

23 May 2018

Soaring property prices mean that first-time buyers are forced to “pay double” in London to get on the housing ladder, a new report reveals today.

The average buyer in the capital has to find £420,132 for a first home, almost twice the £210,515 typical for the rest of Britain, according to research from Lloyds Bank.

It found that the average price has soared by close to two thirds over the past five years despite the slowdown at the top end of the market, particularly in central London.

The average deposit paid by a first-time buyer in London is £92,833, more than 60 per...

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Allow visa-free ICTs for six months, says report

21 May 2018

Proposals for a dramatic overhaul of the UK’s immigration system, aimed at giving companies the freedom they badly need to hire talent from around the world, have been laid out in a far-reaching review.

The report from the London finance lobby group TheCityUK and EY put forward a nine-point plan that the government should implement “urgently”. It included the creation of a new, short-term immigration category that would enable companies’ overseas staff to work in Britain for up to six months without the need for a visa.

Such intra-company transfers (ICTs) would apply both to employees from outside the European Economic Area...

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England facing homes shortage on ‘epic scale’

18 May 2018

Research conducted by Heriot-Watt University for the National Housing Federation (NHF) and the housing charity Crisis, concluded that England alone needed to build 340,000 homes a year from now until 2031 to overcome the current backlog and to meet future demand.

Housing shortfall in the England

The report said that the figure was higher than the government target of building 300,000 new homes a year, saying Whitehall’s estimates had failed to take into account the true scale of housing need.

It also called for 40 per cent of new homes to be affordable with 90,000 of the annual build being for social rent,...

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9 ways landlords break the law - and it's costing renters hundreds extra

17 May 2018

Unscrupulous landlords are costing tenants a fortune each year - which means it can seriously pay to know your rights

Landlords and estate agents could soon be banned from billing tenants for basic administration, references and credit checks, which are collectively costing renters £240 million a year.

The proposed Tenant Fees Bill will cap deposits at six weeks’ rent, while a £50 maximum charge will be introduced for name changes to tenancy agreements.

It’s part of a wider pledge to reform the renting market, and clamp down on law-breaking landlords, as figures show tenants are spending more than a billion pounds a year...

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How the digital revolution will affect the future workforce

16 May 2018

As social media technology continues to develop rapidly, how can businesses respond to ensure younger employees feel engaged while on overseas assignments?

Employees’ use of social media and smart phone technology is shaping their expectations of how workplace communication should operate. At the same time, technology is changing the way organisations identify mobile talent and engage with employees from recruitment to redeployment.

Millennials and Generation X use of technology in the workplace

Experts in global mobility have identified a growing willingness to feedback and share information about overseas assignments amongst younger employees. In return, they expect organisations to be open and to respond...

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UK second to Ireland in tax competitiveness

15 May 2018

The UK has the second-most attractive tax regime after Ireland, according to new research by big four accountant KPMG.

The survey of decision makers at 77 of the UK’s largest listed companies and 58 non-UK companies found that while perception of the attractiveness of the UK’s tax regime had weakened slightly it was still the second-most attractive tax regime after Ireland.

Half of all respondents named the UK as one of the three most competitive tax systems in the world, second to Ireland which was identified by more than three in five of those interviewed.

However, the gap between the two nations had...

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London mayor launches scheme to get women into senior jobs

14 May 2018

The Greater London Authority (GLA) is set to become the first and largest public body to introduce a city-wide leadership scheme to tackle the shortage of women in senior positions and reduce the gender pay gap.

The mayor of London, Sadiq Khan, said he was spearheading the women in leadership push – pairing high-potential women with both male and female senior staff members across London bodies – to give more women access to professional networks, opportunities and contacts needed to progress in an organisation.

“It is shameful that in 2018 women remain underrepresented at all levels of government and leadership roles,”...

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London house prices predicted to keep falling as market has worst month since 2009

10 May 2018

London’s housing market has experienced its worst month in nearly a decade, with surveyors expecting prices to drop even further over the next year.

A highly-regarded survey published this morning reveals that 65 per cent more property surveyors saw London prices fall during April rather than rise, the weakest reading since February 2009.

Sinking prices were also reported elsewhere in the south east, outside London.

The report, published by the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors (Rics), follows a number of other surveys to have reflected falling demand and declining prices in the capital this year.

Official figures show London’s house prices down in nominal...

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London ranked top city for students

09 May 2018

London has been ranked as the best city in the world for university students.

The top 30 rankings for student cities, produced by the QS higher education data analysts, has previously put Montreal and Paris in first place.

The ratings are based on factors such as the number of top universities in a city, the local jobs market, the diversity of the culture and the quality of life.

But London ranked poorly on one of the measures - affordability.

The ranking of university cities, rather than the quality of institutions, is produced by the QS higher education group, which publishes the annual World University...

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Offshore energy set to give UK global lead

04 May 2018

Development of the UK’s tidal stream and wave power industries stand to provide a significant boost to the jobs market and national economy in the coming decades, according to a report from the nation’s leading technology innovation and research centre for offshore renewable energy.

Tidal stream industry

The study by Offshore Renewable Energy (ORE) Catapult estimated the tidal stream industry could support 4,000 jobs by 2030 and generate £1.4 billion for the UK economy. Ten years later, the report said, wave energy could be contributing £4 billion to the UK economy and support 8,100 jobs.

According to ORE Catapult, the study proved that...

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London local elections: How to cast your vote

03 May 2018

On Thursday, May 3rd every council seat in each of London’s 32 boroughs is up for election.

Each London borough is divided into areas known as ‘wards’. Residents can vote for however many council seats are being contested in that ward.

In 28 of the 32 boroughs, the council leader will be decided by the political party with most seats.

However, in Newham, Tower Hamlets, Hackney and Lewisham each operate an executive mayoral system. So in addition to voting for local wards, residents will also vote directly for who leads the council.


The minimum voting age is 18 on the...

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