Embracing the Significance of World Population Day

The combination of births, deaths, and net international migration increases the U.S. population by one person every 24.2 seconds. The projected world population on Jan. 1, 2024, is 8,019,876,189, an increase of 75,162,541 (0.95%) from New Year’s Day 2023.*

As our population expands, the world becomes more interconnected, with each individual’s actions influencing the global landscape. Human growth, akin to technological advancement, is a key factor in shaping the future global economy. However, it’s crucial to note that the overall global population is currently declining, a trend that could significantly impact the future global economy.

The issue is not whether or how the population is growing or declining; the major concern is whether we are ready to create a cleaner, safer, and better environment for future generations.

We live in a different era, but our forefathers must not have imagined the current global crisis.

Numerous reasons for this are due to the decline in the fertility rate, and they distinctly state that the increased cost of living and significant gains in life expectancy have been achieved in recent years.

International Migration is a much smaller component of population change than births or deaths. However, in some countries and areas, the impact of migration on population size is significant, namely in countries that send or receive large numbers of economic migrants and those affected by refugee flows. 

According to a study by the United Nations, on 15 November 2022, the world’s population reached 8 billion people, a milestone in human development that underscores the gravity of the global population issue. While it took the global population 12 years to grow from 7 to 8 billion, it will take approximately 15 years—until 2037—to reach 9 billion, a sign that the overall growth rate of the global population is slowing. Yet levels of fertility remain high in some countries. Countries with the highest fertility levels tend to have the lowest income per capita. Global population growth has, therefore, become increasingly concentrated among the world’s poorest countries, most of which are in sub-Saharan Africa.

Countries like India and China, with their large populations, rank as the most populated countries and contribute significantly as leading manufacturers worldwide, showcasing the influence of population on economic power.

However, the figures in Europe are shrinking, and several countries are expected to see their populations decline by more than 15 percent by 2050, including Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Lithuania, Republic of Moldova, Romania, Serbia, and Ukraine. Fertility in all European countries is now below the level required for total replacement of the population in the long run (around 2.1 children per woman). In the majority of cases, fertility has been below the replacement level for several decades.

A twist in the human race’s development is the fast growth of the African Continent. Over half of global population growth between now and 2050 is expected in Africa. Africa has the highest rate of population growth among significant areas.

Source: https://www.worldometers.info/world-population/

Source: https://www.un.org/en/

UK Immigration Law Changes 2024: Key Updates and Their Impact on Businesses

The UK government has introduced several significant changes to immigration laws in 2024, which will impact businesses that rely on foreign talent. Key updates include an increase in the Immigration Health Surcharge (IHS) from £624 to £1,035 per year, substantially raising the cost of securing visas for foreign workers. Additionally, fines for employing illegal workers will triple, with first offenses now attracting penalties of £45,000, and repeated breaches facing fines of up to £60,000.

Skilled Worker Visa Salary Requirements:

The salary threshold for skilled worker visas will increase from £26,200 to £38,700. This significant rise is intended to reduce the number of skilled worker visa applications and address concerns over immigration levels. However, it will also pose challenges for businesses that rely on overseas talent to address domestic labor shortages.

Impact on Businesses:

  • Increased Costs: The higher IHS and fines mean businesses will face increased costs when hiring foreign workers. This could impact budget allocations and financial planning.
  • Talent Acquisition Challenges: The increased salary requirements may make it more difficult for businesses to attract and retain skilled foreign talent, particularly in industries experiencing domestic labor shortages.
  • Compliance Pressures: Ensuring compliance with the new regulations will be critical to avoid hefty fines and legal complications. This will require rigorous internal audits and possibly consulting with immigration experts to navigate the complexities of the new laws.

Preparation Strategies:

To prepare for these changes, businesses should reassess their hiring practices and budget allocations for immigration-related expenses. Reviewing and adjusting compensation packages to meet the new salary thresholds will be essential. Additionally, exploring alternative talent pools, such as domestic workers or other visa categories, can help mitigate the impact of the new regulations.

Staying informed and proactive in adapting to these changes will be crucial for maintaining operational efficiency and compliance in 2024 and beyond.

Estate Planning: Why It’s Never Too Early to Start

For high-net-worth individuals, starting estate planning early is not just prudent—it’s essential. With considerable assets and complex family dynamics, ensuring your wealth is managed and distributed according to your wishes requires sophisticated strategies and legal expertise. Here’s why starting your estate planning early is critical and how GSC Solicitors can assist you.

The Foundations of Estate Planning

1. Comprehensive Wills

A will is fundamental, specifying how your estate is to be distributed. For affluent individuals, a will must address complex asset structures and potential international holdings. Key considerations include:

  • Appointing Executors: Selecting trusted individuals or professionals to manage your estate.
  • Beneficiary Designations: Clearly defining beneficiaries, including trusts for younger or vulnerable family members.
  • Guardianship: Nominate guardians for minor children, ensuring their well-being and financial security.

2. Advanced Trust Structures

Trusts offer unparalleled flexibility and control over your wealth, providing significant benefits:

  • Discretionary Trusts: Allow trustees to make decisions about distributions, adapting to beneficiaries’ changing circumstances.
  • Tax Efficiency: Strategically structured trusts can mitigate inheritance tax liabilities, preserving wealth for future generations.
  • Asset Protection: Shield assets from potential claims by creditors or through divorce settlements.

3. Estate Management and Business Succession

Managing a large estate involves strategic planning to ensure smooth transitions and continued growth:

  • Asset Inventory: Detailed documentation and regular updates of your asset portfolio.
  • Power of Attorney: Assigning trusted individuals to handle financial and healthcare decisions if you become incapacitated.
  • Business Succession Planning: Ensuring the continuity of family businesses through structured succession plans.

The Advantages of Early Estate Planning

1. Preserving Wealth Across Generations
Early planning allows for the implementation of sophisticated strategies to preserve and grow your estate, ensuring long-term financial security for your heirs.

2. Minimising Tax Liabilities
Proactive estate planning can significantly reduce your tax burden through the utilisation of trusts, charitable donations, and other tax-efficient structures.

3. Avoiding Family Disputes
A well-structured estate plan minimises the risk of conflicts among beneficiaries, ensuring your wishes are respected and reducing the emotional and financial strain on your family.

4. Ensuring Privacy
High-net-worth individuals often seek to maintain privacy concerning their financial affairs. Trusts and other private arrangements can keep estate matters out of the public domain.

How GSC Solicitors Can Help

GSC Solicitors specialises in providing bespoke estate planning services tailored to the needs of high-net-worth individuals. Our expertise includes:

1. Personalised Advice
We offer comprehensive, personalised advice, taking into account your unique financial situation, family dynamics, and long-term goals.

2. Expertise in Complex Estates
Our team is adept at handling large and complex estates, including international assets and intricate trust structures.

3. Tax Planning and Mitigation
We employ advanced tax planning strategies to minimise liabilities and preserve wealth across generations.

4. Ongoing Support and Review
Estate planning is not a one-time event. We provide ongoing support and regular reviews to ensure your estate plan remains aligned with your objectives and compliant with current laws.

Conclusion
For high-net-worth individuals, early and strategic estate planning is crucial for managing and protecting significant wealth. GSC Solicitors is dedicated to helping you navigate the complexities of estate planning, ensuring that your legacy is preserved and your wishes are honoured. Contact us today for expert guidance tailored to your unique needs.

Spring Budget 2024: Highlights

On 7 March 2024, Jeremy Hunt, Chancellor of the Exchequer, delivered the Spring Budget 2024 setting out his plans to continue working to decrease inflation, grow the economy and ensure that the tax system in the country is fair, simple and rewards hard work as the United Kingdom is still facing the legacy of the COVID-19 pandemic, the energy price spike and the globally high inflation.

Below is a summary of the key announcements for the private client world.

 

Inheritance Tax (IHT)

  • From 1 April 2024, the IHT requirements for personal representatives (PRs) of estates who wish to obtain a ‘grant on credit’ from HMRC will be relaxed.

 

Capital Gains Tax (CGT) 

  • A change in CGT on residential property gains has been announced.
  • The rate of CGT on chargeable gains arising from the disposal of residential property will decrease from 28% to 24%.
  • The change will be applicable to the disposals on or after 6 April 2024.
  • The rate for basic rate taxpayers will stay at 18%.

 

Stamp Duty Land Tax (SDLT) 

  • From 1 June 2024, the multiple dwellings relief will be abolished. The relief will still apply to any property transactions where contracts that were exchanged on or before 6 March 2024 regardless of the completion date.
  • The first-time buyers’ relief from SDLT in England will be extended for purchases taking place on or after 6 March 2024. Transitional rules may apply to transactions where the exchange of contracts takes place on or before 6 March 2024.

 

International Aspects 

‘Non-dom’ Regime

  • The remittance basis of taxation will be abolished. The country will switch to a residence-based regime.
  • This will be a major change for the individuals who are resident but not domiciled in the UK (‘non-doms’), and have foreign income and gains. These individuals will not pay UK tax on any foreign income and gains arising in their first 4 years of UK tax residence as long as they have not been resident in the UK for tax purposes for the last 10 years.
  • The new regime will come into effect on 6 April 2025 and will apply UK-wide.
  • Transitional arrangements will apply to the existing ‘non-doms’ claiming the remittance basis.

 

IHT Regime 

  • The IHT regime will be switched to a residence-based one replacing the current regime where IHT liability depends on domicile.
  • The consultation along with the draft legislation will be published later in the year.
  • No IHT changes that are supposed to take effect before 6 April 2025 have been announced.

The impact of these announcements will depend on individual circumstances. We suggest that if you have any questions or would any further advice GSC Solicitors would be delighted to be able to assist and suggest you contact James Cohen on 0207 822 2222. Or e-mail on [email protected]

 

Disclaimer: Rates are for guidance only. Whilst we take care to ensure the accuracy of this document, no responsibility for loss occasioned by any person acting or refraining from action as a result of this information can be accepted by the authors or fir

Copyright Law strikes down Doctor Who on its 60th anniversary

The ongoing copyright dispute in the UK surrounding the TARDIS – the iconic time machine disguised as an old London police telephone box – and early episodes of Doctor Who shows the intersection of intellectual property rights and creative works. The BBC’s initiative to release the first Doctor Who episodes on iPlayer seems to have been halted by the estate of writer Anthony Coburn, due to alleged infringements concerning the TARDIS in the show’s initial episodes with the result that fans aren’t able to access the seminal first four episodes dating back to 1963.

Doctor Who is no stranger to copyright issues, ranging from the infamous Daleks, the robot dog K9, Brigadier Lethbridge-Stewart and fan-generated content. The community has voiced concerns over the BBC’s attempts to curtail the creative endeavours of its ardent followers, reflecting a growing tension between fan engagement and traditional intellectual property rights adding another dimension(!) to character rights. There is a tricky balance between safeguarding intellectual property rights, preserving historical creative endeavours, and fostering a thriving fan-based ecosystem.

Media production is far more evolved than when Doctor Who began and if the current producers could time travel back to the early sixties they should certainly have advised their predecessors to ensure that all rights in the intellectual property surrounding Doctor Who, including scripts, characters or props, were properly assigned in writing to the BBC.

Anyone engaged in creative or collaborative ventures should consider the following tips to prevent similar legal issues:

️ Clear Agreements: Ensure that clear, written agreements are in place delineating the rights and obligations of all parties involved. This should include ownership rights over both created content and derivative works.

®️ Registration: Although copyright in the UK does not require registration of the work to be protected, other intellectual property rights such as trade marks and certain design rights must be registered with the relevant authorities. Furthermore, outside the UK the enforcement of copyright rights can depend upon whether or not the copyright has been registered.

Due Diligence: Thorough due diligence should be conducted to ascertain any existing rights in any items to be used in such ventures and so avoid potential infringements.

⚖️ Legal advice: Competent legal advice should be obtained to navigate the complex legal landscape of intellectual property and to address any disputes proactively.

https://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/profiles/5Dp7g7b0dSVhD2TM1xNlf7c/the-tardis

© 2023 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.

 

In a memo, reported by The Mirror, the company said staff with the virus could continue to work in stores if they felt well enough to. Wilko confirmed the memo was sent out and the firm has since made a U-turn.

“When we get something wrong, we hold our hands up, admit it, and work to correct the situation,” the firm said. Jerome Saint-Marc, Wilko chief executive, said he wanted to “reassure all our customers and team members” that the company’s advice to staff with Covid symptoms or those who test positive was to stay at home and avoid contact with others.

Although there is no longer a legal obligation for a person with Covid-19 to self-isolate, this is still an area where employers  need to be careful.

Employers still have an obligation to provide a safe working environment, so perhaps not allowing those who they know are unwell to enter their premises. They should also be wary of discrimination claims from the vulnerable if they are being asked to work alongside someone who has Covid-19.

Wilko have, correctly, backtracked on their original advice to staff.

The law in this article is current as of 18 March 2022.

Source: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/business-60733394

If you have any employment law queries, please do not hesitate to contact David Nathan at [email protected] or on 020 7822 2247.

© 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.

 

Application for the Ukrainian Humanitarian Route

Further support for Ukrainians fleeing Russia invasion

Thousands more Ukrainians will be welcomed to the UK as the Government continues its support for Ukraine in their fight against the Russian invasion.

The Prime Minister this morning (March 1) announced an expansion to our Ukrainian Humanitarian Route, which will increase the number of people from Ukraine who are eligible to come to the UK to be reunited with their families.

As well as immediate family members, British nationals and people of any nationality settled in the UK will now be supported to bring parents, grandparents, adult children and siblings to the UK. British nationals and people settled in the UK will be able to bring extended family members to the UK and sponsored humanitarian visa route will be established.

Assistance available to Ukrainian family members of British nationals and family members of Ukrainian residents in the UK.

The new changes will allow the arrival of Ukrainian immediate family members of families of British citizens and people living in the UK:

Who are considered to be the immediate family members?

  • Spouse/Unmarried partner
  • Children below 18 y/o
  • Parents
  • Grandparents
  • Adult offspring above 18 y/o
  • Siblings and their immediate family members
  • a full-time relative you look after, who lives with you due to health

NO APPLICATION FEE

NO English language and salary requirements

People who successfully apply under this scheme will be granted an initial leave of 12 months.

If you meet the requirements and want your relatives to join you, please contact the hotline and apply.

You will be informed if you qualify to apply. You will also be given the information on how to submit the free application.

Telephone: +44 300 3032785 – select option 1 (0300 3032785 if you’re in the UK – select option 1)

Lines are open 24 hours a day 7 days a week.

This is a free phone number, but network charges may still apply.

Once you apply, you need to contact a visa centre in the neighbouring country to register biometric data after applying.

Visa centres where you can submit biometric data:

  • Poland- An additional visa centre has been created in Zhešuví, Poland.
  • Moldova
  • Hungary

Basic security checks will be carried out, taking into account Russia’s offensive actions regarding infiltration into Ukraine, but the UKVI will continue to accelerate this process and consider applications as soon as possible.

UKVI aims to process these applications within 24 hours from the date when the applicant registers his biometric information.

For any questions or assistance please do not hesitate to contact us directly on +44(0) 207 8222222 or get in touch with our Immigration experts, Hateem Ali on [email protected] or +44(0)207 822 2209, or Shareena Rahman on [email protected] or +44(0)207 822 2222.

© 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.

Source: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/further-support-for-ukrainians-fleeing-russia-invasion

 

Advice on working from home lifted – what employers need to consider

Home working advice to end but do Brits want to return?
Boris Johnson has confirmed that Plan B restrictions, including compulsory mask wearing and work from home advice have come to an end as positive case data further indicates that the UK is finally coming to the end of the Coronavirus pandemic and entering into what scientists call “endemic” disease.

However, while this may be welcomed by sections of the workforce keen to get back to ‘normal’, significant issues remain – with the ONS indicating that job to job moves are at a record high, driven by resignations, not dismissals. Consultancy and accounting disruptors, Theta Global Advisors reveal landmark research shows that more than half (51%) of British workers have worked better from home, and 41% believe a rush back to the office is a poor strategy choice on the part of their management teams.

It has been a challenging time for the economy over the past 2 years, and the government is keen to see a return to normality.

Even though the recently imposed Plan B  advice on working from home has been lifted, not all employees would like to go back to the pre-Covid position of being in the office 5 days a week as “ 40% of Brits agree that given their experience over the last two years, their employer forcing a strict return to pre-pandemic office norms would hinder their performance”

Although an employment contract may say that staff are required to be in the office full time, from a staff morale and productivity point of view, these findings should be taken into account. Also, in the past two years, it has become more common for employment contracts to allow staff to work from home, and if an employment contract does allow for that, an employer will need to carefully consider how the return to the office is to be managed.

The law in this article is current as of 20 January 2022.

If you have any employment law queries, please do not hesitate to contact David Nathan at [email protected] or on 020 7822 2247.

https://bit.ly/33USlxK

© 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.

 

 

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 [email protected] 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

UK Home Office turns down Nawaz Sharif’s stay extension request

LONDON: Former Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif’s visa to the United Kingdom remains valid but his application for extension in stay has been turned down by the Home Office with the right to appeal against the Home Office decision.

Hussain Nawaz Sharif confirmed here that Nawaz Sharif’s extension in stay application has been rejected but an appeal has already been lodged at the Immigration Tribunal.

GSC’s Head of Corporate & Private Immigration Hateem Ali was asked by geo.tv to comment on the situation:

Hateem Ali, a leading UK immigration solicitor from GSC Solicitors LLP said: “if the previous visit visa extensions were on the basis of medical grounds (which seems to be the case here) then typically you can keep extending for a total of 18 months. In this particular case it would appear that the Home Office were no longer willing to keep extending on that basis. 

He added: “If the latest application for an extension has been refused with a full right to appeal the entire appeal process can potentially take anything between 9 months to over 20 months to be decided by the Immigration tribunal in the UK. This period does not even take into account any potential subsequent judicial review once all appeal rights have been exhausted.

“So although Mr. Nawaz Sharif has been refused it is not necessarily the end of the process.”

Sources: https://www.geo.tv/latest/363722-home-office-turns-downs-nawaz-sharifs-stay-extension-request-but-visa-valid 

© 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.