Yesterday Priti Patel, the Home Secretary, announced the launch of the ‘new points based system’ which intends to attract to the UK the ‘brightest and the best’ from all over the world.
The new system will take effect from 1 January 2021, by which time free movement of EU nationals will end.
The new system will treat EU and non-EU citizens equally, giving top priority to those with the highest skills and the greatest talents, including scientists, engineers and academics.
Those with exceptional talent within the scientific and research fields will be able to come to the UK without a job offer by applying for The Global Talent visa, which will open on 20 February 2020.
If I am offered a job in January 2021, what requirements will I need to meet?
In total, you will be required to reach 70 points to be able to work in the UK. Points will be awarded in the following categories:
- Job offer from approved sponsor - 20 points
- Job at appropriate skill level - 20 points
- English language - 10 points
- Salary - up to 30 points
- Job in Shortage Occupation - 20 points
- PhD in relevant job sector - 10 points
- PhD in relevant STEM subject - 20 points
What are the advantages of the new points based system?
- There will no longer be an overall cap on the number of skilled workers who can come to the UK;
- The definition of skilled workers would be expanded to include those educated at A-level, not just at degree level; and
- The salary threshold for skilled workers wanting to come to the UK would be lowered from £30,000 to £25,600.
Although there is some flexibility in the new system, will it be enough to prevent labour shortages and companies taking their business elsewhere?
The government have confirmed that they will not introduce a visa route for lower-skilled workers, urging businesses to "adapt and adjust" to the end of free movement between EU countries and the UK.
"It is important employers move away from a reliance on the UK's immigration system as an alternative to investment in staff retention, productivity and wider investment in technology and automation".
The government suggested that the 3.2 million EU citizens who have applied to continue living in the UK could help meet labour market demands - a rather bold statement. It will be interesting to review the statistics on whether this comes to pass.
Given the above statement, it is estimated that 70% of the existing EU workforce would not meet the requirements of the skilled worker route, which will help to bring overall numbers down in the future.
The Confederation of British Industry (CBI) stated that "Cutting off the supply of prospective care workers under a new migration system will pave the way for more people waiting unnecessarily in hospital or going without care".
By contrast, the Government have confirmed they will increase the visa allocation scheme for seasonal workers in agriculture to 10,000, and also increase the Youth Mobility scheme to 20,000 for young people to come to the UK each year.
Whilst these new proposals open more doors to non-EU nationals, those that have free movement rights currently will feel alienated by the new restrictions that will be placed on them, especially given that they will now be judged on their skill set.
Will any further changes be implemented?
To study in the UK, overseas students including EU nationals will be required not only to have an offer from an educational institution but also be able to support themselves financially and have knowledge of English.
Student visa routes will also be points-based and be opened up to EU citizens, ensuring talent from around the globe has access to the UK’s world-class universities. Those wishing to study in the UK will need to demonstrate that they have an offer from an approved educational institution, that they can support themselves financially and that they speak English.
What will the requirements be for me to visit the UK in January 2021?
EU citizens and other non-visa nationals will not require a visa to enter the UK when visiting the UK for up to 6 months. However, the use of national identity cards will be phased out for travel to the UK and the Home Office will set out their plans in due course.
These are only some of the proposed changes to be implemented as of 1 January 2021. Gherson will continue to provide updates on these changes as we continue through the Transition Period.
Gherson have extensive experience in all aspects of UK immigration law. If you have any questions or queries relating to your own specific circumstances, please do not hesitate to contact us.
The information in this blog is for general information purposes only and does not purport to be comprehensive or to provide legal advice. Whilst every effort is made to ensure the information and law is current as of the date of publication it should be stressed that, due to the passage of time, this does not necessarily reflect the present legal position. Gherson accepts no responsibility for loss which may arise from accessing or reliance on information contained in this blog. For formal advice on the current law please don’t hesitate to contact Gherson. Legal advice is only provided pursuant to a written agreement, identified as such, and signed by the client and by or on behalf of Gherson.
Consultant and trainee solicitor in our Corporate Team