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The UK’s Immigration System (New Points System) – Post Brexit

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13th November, 2020

A key promise of the Conservative government in the 2019 general election was to control immigration by launching a new system for skilled migration.

The government have now sought to deliver on their promise on time by introducing the new points system in tune with free movement ending on 31 December 2020.

The Skilled Worker route will govern how employers can recruit and employ overseas workers. The new route will open on 01 December 2020 for non-European Economic Area (EEA) nationals and will apply to EEA nationals (excluding Irish nationals) on and after 01 January 2020.

The new system will not apply to EEA nationals and their family members already residing in the UK by 31 December 2020. They must apply under the EU Settlement Scheme by 30 June 2021 should they wish to continue to live and work in the UK.

What does this mean for employers?

Businesses have been required to apply to the Home Office to become approved sponsors to enable them to employ migrants that are not settled in the UK. This requirement will extend to businesses that wish to continue to employ EEA nationals that are not residing in the UK by 31 December 2020. Employers will be required to comply with the sponsor duties and maintain records for all employees. The Home Office will release further guidance before 01 December 2020.

Summary of the key changes

The Skilled Worker route will replace the Tier 2 (General) migrant route for individuals coming to the UK to work for a licenced sponsor. These are some of the key changes:

  1. Skilled Workers will be required to provide evidence of a job offer skilled at Level 3 RQF (A Level). This was previously at Level RQF 6.
  2. Employers will no longer be required to carry out the Resident Labour Market Test to prove that a suitable settled worker is not available to fill the vacancy.
  3. A reduction in the minimum annual salary requirement from £30,000 to £25,600 (with exceptions).
  4. The annual quota of migrants coming to the UK will be suspended allowing businesses to choose from a wider market.
  5. There will be more flexibility for foreign nationals to switch leave to remain as a Skilled Worker from within the UK.

Meeting the requirements of the New Points System (Skilled Worker)

Applicants will need a total of at least 70 points. This can be achieved in a variety of ways as outlined in the UK Gov table.

For example, a lab technician could make up 70 points by fulfilling the mandatory categories and having a STEM PhD.

Characteristics Mandatory/Tradeable Points
Offer of job by approved sponsor Mandatory 20
Job at appropriate skill level Mandatory 20
Speaks English at required level Mandatory 10
Salary of £20,480 to £23,039 or at least 80% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 0
Salary of £23,040 to £25,599 or at least 90% of the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 10
Salary of £25,600 or above or at least the going rate for the profession (whichever is higher) Tradeable 20
Job in a shortage occupation as designated by the Migration Advisory Committee Tradeable 20
Education qualification: PhD in a subject relevant to the job Tradeable 10
Education qualification: PhD in a STEM subject relevant to the job Tradeable 20

Irish citizens

Irish citizens do not need to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme and can continue to work in the UK without the need of being sponsored under the new points system.

Key Dates

  • 01 December 2020: The New Points System is applicable.
  • 31 December 2020: Last day of the transition period with the EU.
  • 01 January 2021:
    • The end of the transition period between the UK and the EU. The freedom of movement of people ends which allows EU citizens to work in the UK.
    • New Points Based System applies to applicants from the EU.
  • 30 June 2021:
    • Deadline for EU nationals and their family members (on those that are residing in the UK by 31 December 2020) to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme.
Ikram Malik

Business Immigration

Partner
Email: [email protected]
Tel: 01244 405 406

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