On 19 October 2020, the Home Office published information for EU, EEA and Swiss citizens who will arrive in the UK after 31 December 2020 (when free movement ends).
We provide below an overview of the guidance released, which highlights important information EU nationals should be aware of.
Impact on EU nationals in light of Brexit
As the UK left the EU on 31 January 2020, free movement for EU, EEA and Swiss nationals will end on 31 December 2020. From 1 January 2021, the new points-based UK immigration system will come into force and will treat non-EU nationals and EU nationals equally, focusing on skills and talent instead of an individual’s nationality.
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national currently living in the UK, you must apply to the EU Settlement Scheme before 30 June 2021 in order to continue living in the UK after this date. If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national and are not currently living in the UK, you will need to be living in the UK by 31 December 2020 in order to be able to apply under the EU Settlement Scheme. For further information in respect of securing your status in the UK as an EU, EEA or Swiss national, please refer to our earlier blog here.
For EU nationals who will not relocate to the UK before 31 December 2020, but may wish to do so in the future, the points-based immigration system will be applicable in respect of gaining permission to enter the UK for the purposes of work or study from 1 January 2021 onwards. EU nationals will be able to visit the UK for up to 6 months without applying for a visa but will be prohibited from undertaking a number of activities if entering as a visitor, such as undertaking work or study.
How will the points-based system work?
Applications will be initiated online, with the majority of applicants being able to complete their applications (including ID verification) using a smartphone app. Applicants who are unable to use the smartphone app will be required to attend a Visa Application Centre in order to complete ID verification. This may include applicants applying for certain visas, those who do not have a biometric chip in their passport or those who are unable to access the smartphone app.
Depending on the visa an applicant is applying for, a Home Office application fee may be payable along with a requirement to pay the Immigration Health Surcharge (which allows an applicant access to the NHS during the validity of their visa). The amount of the application fee will usually depend on the type and length of the visa being applying for.
Before submitting a visa application, the applicant must ensure they meet the relevant requirements for the visa category under which they are applying. An applicant will be required to demonstrate that they meet the requirements by providing documentary evidence.
Working in the UK
If an EU, EEA or Swiss national wishes to come to the UK to work after 31 December 2020, they may be able to apply under one of the following visa categories within the points-based immigration system:
- Skilled Work Visa. To be eligible, an applicant must:
- have a job offer from a Home Office-licensed sponsor at the required skill level;
- evidence they will be paid at the relevant minimum salary threshold by the sponsor;
- speak English at the required level.
- Skilled Work: Health and Care visa. To be eligible, an applicant must:
- Work in an eligible health occupation and have a job offer from the NHS, social care sector (or employers and organisations which provide services to the NHS);
- Meet the requirements of the Skilled Worker Route (above).
- Global Talent
- This visa route is designed to allow highly skilled workers to come to the UK without a job offer. More specifically, this route is for recognised global leaders and ‘the leaders of tomorrow in science, humanities, engineering, the arts and digital technology’. Please refer to our blog here.
Other immigration routes, which permit working in the UK, may be applicable to an individual’s circumstances if they are unable to apply under any of the above routes.
Studying in the UK
In order to study in the UK, an applicant will need to demonstrate that they:
- have obtained an offer from a Home Office-licensed student sponsor;
- can speak, read, write and understand English;
- can support themselves financially whilst living in the UK;
- genuinely intend to study in the UK.
There is also a Child Student Visa for child students aged 4 – 17, in relation to studying at an independent school.
For those applicants who complete a degree in the UK (undergraduate level or above), and who wish to remain in the UK post-study to work or look for work, they may be eligible to apply for a graduate visa which will allow them to remain in the UK for up to two years after completing their studies. This route is due to open in summer 2021.
If you are an EU, EEA or Swiss national and are looking to relocate to the UK now or in the future, please do not hesitate to contact us to discuss the points-based immigration system and your circumstances in further detail.
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.
Immigration consultant in our Corporate Team