Tourism Alliance Update – 2nd March

  • Covid Pass Guidance Updated

The guidance on Covid Passes has been updated to say that people who think that their COVID Pass has missing or incorrect vaccination records, they should call 119 and ask to be referred to the Vaccine Data Resolution Service.

  • Student Sponsor Guidance Updated

The guidance for student sponsors, migrants and short-term students has been updated. The changes include:

  • End dates for transition from distance learning updated to 30 June 2022
  • A new paragraph added to confirm concessions on distance and blended learning will be permitted if there is a local restriction anywhere in each of the four nations of the UK which prohibits in-person teaching and that this concession will be permitted in line with the duration of any such restrictions.
  • Commencement of in person/blended learning end date updated to 30 June 2022.

  • Transport Data

The latest wave of DFT’s weekly transport usage survey has been released and is interesting for the fact that it covers 5 days since covid restrictions were removed. The initial data, however, does not suggest that there has been a sudden surge in public transport use with National Rail usage remaining about 60% of normal and week-day use of the tube in London being around 65% of normal.

  • Changes in Self-Catering Tax Rules In Wales

The Welsh Government has announced two measure to address the issue of second home owners pricing locals out of the housing market in  popular tourism destinations.

The first measure is to allow local councils to set council tax premiums of up to 300% on second homes and long-term empty properties from April 2023 (the current allowed premium is 100%). Individual councils will be allowed to determine whether they apply a premium, the level of the premium (up to the 300% maximum) and whether different premiums should be set for second homes and vacant homes.

The second measure, which is more important for the tourism industry is the announcement that the criteria for self-catering accommodation being eligible for business rates instead of council tax will also change from next April. The current requirement is for properties to be available to let for at least 140 days a year and let for at least 70 days a year in order to be eligible for business rates. From next April this will increase significantly to having to be available to rent for at least 252 days and actually let for at least 182 days in any 12-month period.

This is significantly greater than the requirement for self-catering operators in England (available for 140 days a rented for 70 days a year) and there are concerns that many self-catering businesses will be able to achieve these new thresholds.

  • Home Office Immigration Pack For Employers

I have attached a new pack from the Home Office on how employers can use the new Points-based immigration scheme to gain people with the skills they need. The pack contains, or has links to various guidance document and videos that are particularly useful for businesses trying to navigate their way through this new landscape.

  • Right To Work, Rent and Criminal Record Checks

At the end of last year the government announced its intention to enable employers and landlords to use certified digital identity service providers to carry out identity checks on their behalf for many who are not in scope to use the Home Office online services, including British and Irish citizens (the legislation to do this will take effect from 6 April 2022). To achieve this, DCMS has been developing a system for certifying Digital Identity Service Providers (IDSPs) – ie., companies that have been certified as being able to undertake digital identity checks for employers. This process has now been put in place and is being managed by UKAS (the new UK Accreditation Service that was established as a result Brexit to take over certification work that used to be done by the EU). They are in the process of assessing the following six organisations against the “UK Digital Identity and Attributes Trust Framework” to determine whether they should be given IDSP status.

  • Age Check Certification Services Ltd trading as Digital ID Systems Certification      
  • Amtivo Group Limited trading as British Assessment Bureau and Certification Europe       
  • Eurofins CML
  • BSI        
  • Kantara
  • NQA

While it will not be mandatory for employers and landlords to use a certified IDSP for the purposes of right to work and right to rent checks, the Home Office recommends employers and landlords use a certified IDSP. However, for DBS checks, employers will be required to use a certified IDSP in future.

Here is a link to more detail about the new scheme and how it is being implemented.

Click here for : Employers Partner Pack March