The new UK points-based Immigration system
For some years a number of Industry and Professional bodies have lobbied for the UK to introduce a points-based immigration system, many citing the Australian model as the ideal. The new scheme has just been published and will be effective from January 2021.
In our opinion, the scheme is easy to understand and apply, and will make the assessment of applicant suitability more straightforward for our clients. However this is just the first part of the scheme, there will be more to come to reintroduce a highly skilled migrant route, which will be a much more restricted programme than the last scheme, for those without job offers to enter the UK. They also plan to introduce a new graduate immigration channel for those international students who have completed a degree with a UK university from summer 2021, this will reintroduce a time limited work permit (two years).
There are plans afoot for scientists and NHS-specific roles.
The new Scheme in summary
From 1 January 2021, anyone coming to the UK to work will need to demonstrate that:
chieving the 70 points will be relatively straightforward for most of our clients, an approved sponsor job offer accounts for 20 points, that job being at or above the appropriate skill level also accounts for 20 points, as does a salary above £25,600. Speaking English at the required level makes up the final 10 points to reach 70. If the role is also on the shortage occupations lists or the applicant holds a PhD in a subject that is necessary to the role, then this will provide more points.
We encourage all of our clients to support their EU employees to obtain their settled status certificates sooner rather than later, but the absolute deadline for EU citizens to come to the UK, under the existing right to free movement, is 31 December 2020.
EU citizens or partners of EU citizens must make their settled status application by 30 June 2021, to avoid the need for Work Permit sponsorship.
Citizens from Republic of Ireland and from Switzerland do NOT need to gain settled status as ongoing agreements for freedom of movement have already been agreed between our Governments.
The New Visa Process
New immigration routes, such as the skilled worker route, will open from Autumn 2020 for applications from those who wish to work in the UK from 1 January 2021.
Applicants will apply and pay for their visa online. Anyone who comes to the UK as a visitor will not be able to apply for a visa to work once in the country.
All migrants looking to enter the UK to work will need to apply for permission in advance.
Non-EU citizens will continue to go to Visa Application Centres (VACs) to enrol their biometrics.
EU citizens will continue to use e-gates, but this policy will be kept under review.
Others will need to see a Border Force officer.
As a transition measure, employers, landlords and public service providers will continue to accept the passports and national identity cards of EU citizens as evidence of permission up until 30 June 2021. Non-EU citizens will continue to use their physical documentation.
We are happy to assist our clients to ensure that they remain complaint and allow sufficient time to make applications for their employees and potential employees.
Full details of the scheme can be found at https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/uk- points-based-immigration-system-employer-information/the-uks-points-based-immigration- system-an-introduction-for-employers
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