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The New UK immigration system

 

It may well have been overshadowed by Covid-19 but Brexit is still happening and the end of the Brexit transition period is fast approaching.  The end of this period on the 31st December 2020 will signal the end of free movement for EU workers and a new points-based immigration system.  From January 2021, both EU and non- EU citizens wishing to work in the UK will need at least 70 points for a skilled worker visa. 

From January 2021, free movement rights will end for European nationals travelling to the UK and vice versa.  New European and non-European entrants to the UK will be treated equally and subject to the same immigration rules.

As a result, European entrants will need to pay the same government application fees paid by non-European migrants at present, and they will need to factor in the visa processing times prior to travel. 

The Government is proposing two main points-based routes for permission to work in the UK. 

  • A skilled worker visa for people with a job offer

 

  • A highly skilled work visa for people without a job offer, which could potentially allow self-employment. UK Visas and Immigration intends to consult on this during and it is not anticipated that this category will be in force until at least 2022. 

 

How will the Points- Based system work?

From January 2021, there will be a two-stage test for EU and non-EU citizens who want to live and work in the UK.  The outcome of the test must be that the applicants receive a minimum of 70 points.  The two-stage test is thought to the be as follows: -

  1. If the applicant meets all the requirements of test one, they will receive the maximum of 50 points.

 

  1. Applicants are required to score 20 points under test 2 to achieve the minimum total of 70 points.

There are several criteria that are mandatory whilst others are “tradeable”. 

 

Mandatory Criteria

  • A Job offer from an approved sponsor
  • A Job at the appropriate skill level (Level 3 / A-Level equivalent)
  • English Language ability at the required level

Tradeable criteria

  • Salary Level of the role
  • Is the role in a shortage occupation?
  • PHD in a subject relevant to the job
  • PHD in a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subject relevant to the job.

 

In addition it is important to note that there will be no regional salary thresholds, the cap on the number of people who can come to the UK on the skilled worker route will be suspended and lead time for a visa will be reduced from two to one month. 

The Home Office may consider amending the criteria to include attributes that can be “traded” against a lower salary in the future.  This could include criteria such as experience of studying in the UK or age, which have been used in other countries. 

At present there is no indication that this transition period will be extended due to the current pandemic and the new immigration system is due to be tested later in 2020.